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Saturday, June 4, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) movie review

Overall verdict: 7/10

A disappointing villain and lack of thematic depth overshadows the fun, action packed conclusion to the second X-men trilogy.

The Good: fantastic acting, top notch special effects, rousing soundtrack, paves the way for, easy-to-follow straightforward narrative, well written script with witty humour 

The Bad: lack of excitement in battle sequences, dated stunt work, shallow superficial characters, plot points seem repeated from previous movies

3D Readiness: None


The word "apocalypse" brings to mind an end-of-the world event of biblical proportions. X-MEN APOCALYPSE brings to mind some Japanese anime and a yearning for the better X-men movies of the past. The third in this "new trilogy" that began with X-MEN FIRST CLASS, the franchise reached its high point in the epic X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST but now tips back down to a rather typical tale of good vs evil intertwined with the usual hero's journey. Thankfully the masterful execution of dialogue and acting chops saves this film from sinking into mediocrity.

Our story begins Ten years after the mutant Magneto aka Eric Lensherr nearly murdered the president on national television only to be foiled at the last instant by fellow mutant shapeshifter Mystique and his former Friend and psychic Charles Xavier. Now Eric has settled in a life of isolation with his new Wife and child, Mystique has become a legend among the mistreated mutant populace Travelling the globe to free mutants from abuse, while Charles has his school for young mutants up and running. His newest pupils are the aloof Jean Grey, a powerful telekinetic who can barely control her abilities, and the lonely Scott Summers who has been cursed with equally uncontrollable powers that fire laser beams from his eyes. Mystique breaks up an illegal mutant fight club in Germany and rescues a young teleporter, cursed with a blue devilish appearance, named Kurt Wagner. you follow me so far? Great, because into all of these plot threads comes Apocalypse, an ancient Egyptian mutant able to manipulate inanimate objects on a molecular level. He awakens after a Long sleep and seeks to re-establish his godlike status in the world.

That is a lot of plot threads. Fortunately or unfortunately it does not require much inferring or complex thinking to follow the story. It is very simple and it is in its simplicity that it loses out on the richness of character than past xmen movies had. Our characters are all reduced to two dimensional archetypes each with familiar story arcs. So familiar in fact that the whole movie is a pastiche of plot points taken from past xmen movies. Eric is the grief stricken blood knight who goes evil with vengeance when tragedy strikes, again. Scott jean and Kurt are the inexperienced loners who have to work together to overcome their challenges, a little like pyro, Bobby drake (ice man) and kitty pryde (shadow cat) in X-men 2. Mystique replaces wolverine as the badass wanderer who is thrown into a leadership position to guide our young loners. Xavier is once again captured and the X-men's home base is compromised, again like X-MEN 2. Powerful mutant with delusions of godhood and a gang of loyal followers is Apocalypse this time replacing magneto's role in the first 3 xmen movies. Call it homage or call it cliche, I feel that this story manages to toe the line between familiar and fresh. The familiar elements gives us a sense of the revolving nature of conflict, that history repeats despite the best intentions. The fresh elements of course add new facets to a film which could have otherwise been a complete bore, thanks to the slow burn nature of the plot which mostly sees both good guys and bad guys gathering their key players for the final showdown. Those who can appreciate a slow build up would love this while those who need their immediate action fix would be left disappointed.

Divisive might be the best word to describe this movie. When the action does come, it is a special effects spectacle of mutant powers on display where everyone.......pretty much stands around shooting things at each other. Oh look, the villain is getting the upper hand! Let's shoot more! Where physical stunts and fights come, they are a thrill to behold except the dated wire work which feels artificial. Interspersed between these divisive battles are particular scenes of movie magic. Quicksilver (last see in DAYS OF FUTURE PAST) returns and we get to see the full extent of his powers once again only on a larger scale. And at least this time he has a purpose in the story other than being a just a miraculous attempt. But as mentioned earlier his motivations are touched on but not explored. His character is simplified into yet another archetype.

Beneath the visual spectacle, the movie under utilises its cast of characters. Ty Sheridan's Scott Summers could have been great as the new audience surrogate, going from meek bullied loser to taking his first steps as confident leader of the X-Men. Instead he is also shoved into the background after his introduction. Kodi-smith mcfee's more feline looking Nightcrawler is also another intriguing character sidelined. Instead we get more Charles xavier and more Eric playing out their character drama like star crossed lovers. Don't get me wrong, they are fantastic actors, especially Michael Fassbender completely nailing the tragedy of Eric's character arc. But their story came to a decent close in the last movie and this one just feels like more of the same.

Apocalypse himself is a villain that is as equally divisive as the movie itself. On one hand, it seemed that the creators were going for the "all powerful but frail" type of villain ala emperor Palpatine of Star Wars. The snake-like menace that Oscar Isaac exudes through his sinister delivery is betrayed by a design that borders on corny. Oversized platform boots, plastic looking Armour and an ill defined set of powers all downplay the threatening presence of the villain. His motivations could have been much deeper. A commentary on modern commercialism replacing the religions of old perhaps as the new "cult following"? Or a criticism of humanity's arrogance and self glorifying nature? Maybe even a critique on how common folk are quick to idolise mortal "false gods" of the influential and powerful? No, no and no. None of that thematic depth here. Apocalypse is merely your Saturday morning cartoon variety villain who wants to destroy the world to rebuild in his image.

It is not a bad movie per se. Visually stunning, an easy-to-follow plot and well cast characters set to a script filled with witty dialogue that does not overdo the comedy. The acting is professional and the music by John Ottman is a grand thematic continuation of But for a grand finale it pales in comparison to films like X-MEN 2 by glossing over its deeper themes of social commentary especially, in the treatment of mutants as an allegory to prejudice against social minorities. It lacks the urgency, high stakes tension and emotional depth of DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and the chemistry among the cast is no where near XMEN FIRST CLASS. I would place it as a middling entry into the X-men franchise that succeeds in opening the doors to a whole new generation of X-men movies.
*******Review End*******

Entertainment: A-
Story: C
Acting: B+
Characters: C-
Music: B+
Replay value: B+
"Brains": C+

Monday, May 30, 2016

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008) direct to video animated movie

Overall verdict: 6.5/10

Focusing on the avengers' kids has turned a potentially relevant and deep story into juvenile Saturday morning cartoon fare.

The Good: simple story, some night time scenes of intricate artwork, conveys relevant themes of growing up, excellent voice work

The Bad: Sub-standard animation, generally simplistic art, cliche ridden plot, juvenile writing, 

3D Readiness: None


The Avengers, Earth's Mightiest Heroes, have been defeated by the machine menace known as Ultron. Presumably the last survivor of that final terrible battle, Iron Man/Tony Stark takes it upon himself to hide the baby children of the Avengers in secret so that Ultron would never find them. He raises them hidden in a underground artificial paradise, constantly spinning them tales about the parents they never knew. Fast forward 13 years later and the children have grown up into fine youngsters, training their individual gifts but longing to find their place in the world. Following a surprise visitation by the Vision and an unfortunate accident, Ultron discovers the location of the Avenger's children and launches an all out attack. Separated from their mentor Iron Man, and on the run, these "Next Avengers" must live up to their family heritage while dealing with their individual inner turmoil and teenage angst.

First off, the story is very intriguing and engaging. It is a whole new world and whole new rules as our Next Avengers step out of their artificial perfect world and into the dystopia that our earth has become. There is a good amount of mystery and tension in the first act as the tragic past is slowly unveiled through stories and flashbacks. But the second part taking place in Ultron City falls a little bit into futuristic cartoon clichés. Machines have dominated the future, an underground resistance movement is made up of a rag tag team of misfits who look culled from every single dystopian genre anime there ever was. The story isn't as intense as the previous marvel animated movies, nor as character focused, and the writing does tend to tip a bit into the juvenile side of things. Although the stakes are high with Ultron having taken over the world, we never get a sense of danger from this adversary. The story feels safe; safe in the fact that it is predictable that good would eventually triumph, safe in the fact that any character "killed" would be back by the end of the movie. 
The Characters are a little less easy to get into than the story. The children are typical kid hero character stereotypes. The irritating youngest brat(Pym), the hot headed slacker turned leader(James), the feisty girl with daddy issues(Toruun), the token African American for political correctness(Azari) and the cold aloof flirty one(Barton). Aside from the clichés their individual story arcs play out very believably. The inner turmoil faced by the heroes alludes to many common problems face by average teenagers nowadays, such as living up to one's parents' expectations and finding a sense of self-identity. These are very heart warming themes that can appeal to young and old alike. Some of the dialogue may be a little too "saturday morning cartoon" for the older teenagers like myself but these superficial shortcomings can be forgiven thanks to good voice acting. It is difficult to believe that they got actual kids to voice the Avengers' children but there you have it: child actors conveying nuance and subtlety like any professional voice actor. These kids may go far in life.

It is in the animation department where this film truly suffers. The animation is very inconsistent here. The art varies from an intricate level of detail  to flat and cheap looking crap with no other detail other than the basic outlines and features. The daytime shots are the worst offender with quality coming across very poorly, not even an ounce of effort in the shading. But some of the night time shots are breathtaking with amazing lighting effects and full use of shadows.

A number of animation short cuts are jarringly visible and the fluidity of the animation usually varies indirectly to the art detail. This leads to a lot of the action lacking the dynamic energy that one would expect from such animated superhero showdowns. Add in the rather generic sounding soundtrack and you get some very underwhelming action. There is one sequence near the end of the movie where quality takes a bit of a jump but it ends up being too little too late. The overall animation of the movie has a low budget look; more fitting for a TV series than a movie. The character designs had a strong American anime feel to them. Not as exaggerated as Teen Titans but more on par with Ben 10.

On a whole, Next Avengers was an enjoyable movie with themes that are easy to relate to and can be watched by an audience of any age above 7. It has themes relevant to those growing up in the shadow of their parents and peers but all this is buried under writing that is more juvenile that i had hoped for. The cliches, simplistic artwork and occasional corny humour do not do NEXT AVENGERS any justice. If it were not for all that and the sub standard animation, I would have given this a higher rating.

********Review End*******

Entertainment: B+
Art: C-
Animation: C
Story: B
Voice Acting (English): B+ 
Characters: C+
Music: C
Replay value: A-
"Brains": B

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ant-Man (2015) movie review

Overall verdict: 6.5/10

A novel concept with potentially grand ideas is belittled into bite sized simplicity, contorted into child friendly comedy and shrunk down to superficial super heroics with no sense of peril or tension.

The Good: Peyton Reed's cool visual style, Paul Rudd's portrayal of the lead character, awesome special effects, refreshingly stylish soundtrack

The Bad: wasted ideas that could have tapped its novel concept, cliche story of zero to hero, weak action, badly placed jokes, ill timed humour, some low quality special effects

3D Readiness: None

At 11 movies into its interconnected series of comic book live action movies, marvel studios has cemented its fool proof formula since AVENGERS: lots of laughs, simplistic stories, superficial thrills, and more laughs. The deeper themes of earlier marvel movies be damned. Comedy sells and they have cranked that up for ANT MAN. Number 11 in the marvel comics series of movie adaptations. From the massive scope of countrywide destruction in AGE OF ULTRON, marvel tones it down and goes small. Way small. Small in scope, tone, depth and small in the way of fresh ideas.

Incorporating the most groan inducing aspects of the marvel formula, ant man is essentially the shrinking blue collar Iron Man. We have seen this story countless times. The comedic lovable loser down on his luck, trying his darnedest to be a good man and Father to his kid, he gets a godsend opportunity to turn his life around and sticks it to some big shot corporate dude. Meet Scott Lang, ex-master thief looking to turn away from a life of crime. His caricature of a friend tempts him for one more burglary to rob an inventor but Scott ends up discovering a secret invention: an incredible suit belonging to bitter inventor Hank Pym that is able to shrink its user to the size of an Ant. Where Scott sees a horrible mistake, The elderly Hank sees opportunity to outsmart a former protege Darren cross who had ousted Pym from his own company and created the weaponised "yellow jacket" mech suit incorporating pym's shrinking tech. Now Scott lang is given his second chance to be a hero. He breaks out of captivity using his shrinking suit, teams with hank and his Daughter Hope to master its capabilities, and attempts to take down the power hungry Cross who is close to perfecting the yellow jacket weapon.

Remember what I said about small stakes and scope? Ant Man is not about some international incident or some earth shattering invasion. It is a personal and very focused story and that's fine actually. But what causes a terrible dissonance is the way the humour is handled. True to such movies, we have characters in constant life or death situations but they seem to be treating their plight like a playground outing or a pillow fight. Jokes, snarky banter and badly timed comedy abounds without any sense of peril or desperation making it difficult to take the plot seriously.

Or perhaps one isn't supposed to take it seriously? After all, the plot in itself is a mash up of Honey I Shrunk the Kids with some Adam Sandler style comedy. I mean there is this one part where Scott enlarges a pre-shrunken tank and escapes from his pursuers. A tank! But even looking at it from an action comedy perspective still presents some problems. It's not Witty enough to pass as a comedy, Nor thrilling enough as an action movie.

To his credit, director Peyton Reed does some amazing work with the shrinking scenes and the fight scenes involving our pint sized protagonist are definitely a work of special effects genius. Paul Rudd successfully captures the plight of poor Scott lang with a very earnest performance, though at times overdoing the jokes a bit. The score by Christophe Beck is also of particular note, eschewing the increasingly cliched action Beats of past marvel scores for something closer to a 1960s spy thriller.

In the greater scheme of things, ANT MAN presents many intriguing concepts,l. Big ideas that were hampered by small minded execution and equally small minded reliance on cheap comedy belittling what could have been intelligent storytelling with cliche at ter cliche. A sprightly little movie that would be right at home as a family comedy if you took out the shrinking.
************Review End**********

Entertainment: A
Story: C-
Acting: A-
Characters: B-
Music: B+
Replay value: B-
"Brains": C-

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Captain America: Civil War (2016) movie review


Overall verdict: 8.5/10

The Good: Perfect acting by the main cast, touches on deeper socio-political themes, intense action, more serious tone compared to past marvel movies, good pacing that balances character development with action

The Bad: Relies heavily on past movie continuity and character development, some fake looking action that seems sped-up,  poorly placed humour that kills dramatic mood, Mediocre music, deeper themes slowly sidelined

3D Readiness: Post production 3D conversion. Quick cuts and shakey camera do not lend well to 3D or iMax viewing


Following a series of battles and a fatal error in a Mission that saw much collateral damage, the world finally calls for regulation on the superhero team known as the Avengers. Facing an uncertain future, the avengers are split on ideological grounds with captain America aka Steve rogers opposing regulation and iron man aka Tony stark supporting it. What begins as arguments soon morphs into rivalry, then escalates into conflict and ultimately battles. Into this conflict comes The Black Panther, a superhero from Africa who is after Captain America's Friend the Winter Soldier for involvement in an assassination attempt. As opposing sides deal with this new development, a young man gifted with the powers of a spider is recruited into the fight.

What comes across as amazing is the directors' way for tying all these plot threads together. You have the black panther situation, the growing differences between Tony and Steve, the overarching political debate on accountability, then you have Spiderman being reintroduced into the marvel cinematic universe. With all these characters and subplots, the film never lets us forget this this is primarily a Captain America movie. Steve Rogers is the main focus with Tony Stark as his foil. With a little thinking by the audience to connect the dots, the plot threads fall into place nicely and the stories fit along parallel themes. Our tale is fast paced, going from tense conversation to awesome action and back again.

The tone is, finally, more serious and more grounded, a much welcome departure from the increasingly comedic tones of most marvel movies. There is a true sense that the stakes are high, and the potential for loss is great.  The Russo brothers crafted a serious political thriller in CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER, and now they up that ante in writing, characters and action. Though some of the fights have that "sped-up-in-post-production" look, it is grittier, more brutal and less "dance-like" than most of other marvel movies. The final battle between Tony and Steve stands out as the best marvel movie fight ever not only because of the perfectly shot scenes but in the emotional aspect as well. Conflicts are framed in a "no nonsense" approach, rather than the cartoon-like quip filled play battles of before. Not that there aren't quips but these are from characters defined as such in their original comics, namely Tom Holland's Spiderman.

Easily the freshest aspect of the movie, Tom Holland embodies the youthful wall crawler that comic fans love. His introduction foregoes the usual overly long origin tale and gets him right into the action. Everything is perfect, the way he moves, the way he talks, his emotional journey through the movie that runs parallel to that of the Robert Downey jr's Tony stark and Chris Evan's Steve Rogers. Everyone brings their best to the roles both new and familiar, with the two veterans conveying the emotional anguish and turmoil of two brothers-in-arms forced to opposing sides.

This movie's emotional weight relies heavily on continuity and would be more effective if one had been following these characters from their first movies, through avengers and marvel phase two, right up till now. Without the 8 or so preceding movies, it is difficult to get a grasp on Captain America's or Iron Man's differing ideologies and unresolved interpersonal tension. Their motivations seem propelled by stubbornness and ego which would seem shallow without their relational context as provided by past movies.

Thankfully the magnificent chemistry between this cast who have co-starred together for so long, shines. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. And the rest all truly become their characters, drawing the audience into this fantasy world where secret Organisations, spies, superheroes and people with powers co-exist. There are some ill timed comedy, especially those that come in the middle of intense scenes. It kills the drama and the serious mood. Thankfully, these are few and lesser in number than previous marvel movies.

The big downside, especially as a fan of the comics, is how different this is from the original civil war miniseries. The original was a tragic tale of good intentions carried out in bad ways, it deconstructed super hero feuds, touched on politics, delved into the philosophical question of freedom or security; themes that resonate with the world deeply entrenched in the war on terror. The movie version downplays a lot of that. Message to marvel: if you are going to use a title, at least respect the source material. This does have a few fleeting similarities but all in all feel like a completely different story which had no business using the name of an existing one. The political themes, touching on the accountability of those in power, are present but never at the forefront. By the movie's end, it does not even feature within the climatic showdown. What could have been a physical and metafictional "fight" between two friends representing opposing sociopolitical ideologies suddenly descends into a weak excuse for revenge.

As a whole this is a tremendous improvement in every aspect over previous marvel team up movie AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON. Comic book movies will be hard pressed to match up to this standard set by CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR. Yes there is ill placed humour, yes they kill a certain amount of the drama with cheap comedy and yes the relatively generic musical score by Henry Jackman seems wasted on such an epic. But the few flaws aside, this is finally the kind of movie that marvel should be making. One that takes its superheroes more seriously, tones down the jokes, and delves into deeper themes both social and political. More focus could have been given to those themes, but this is a very pleasing start to what I hope is the maturing of the marvel cinematic universe.

*****************************Review End***************************

Entertainment: A
Story: A-
Acting: A
Characters: B+
Music: C
Replay value: B+
"Brains": B-

Friday, March 25, 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016) movie review

Overall verdict: 8.5/10

The Good: Delves into a philosophical examination of the superhero archetype, complex plot that is resolved well, fully fleshed out characters and motivations, intense well shot action, comic book accurate visual style, fresh portrayals of Batman, Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor

The Bad: Disappointing performance by Henry Cavill as Superman, some underwhelming special effects, many plot threads which may be difficult for some to follow, tends to lose focus on main plot in order to set up future films

3D Readiness: Post production 3D conversion but gives an extra punch to the many  surreal slow motion scenes. Selected scenes also filmed in iMax.

A title is a powerful thing. In a few words, it shapes audiences expectations for a movie, tells them the subject of said movie and attempts to entice viewership. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (BVS) is a mouthful of a title that at once teases a titanic showdown between two comic book icons and hints at the formation of the world famous Justice League superhero team. No doubt many are going to cry foul when they find out that BVS is not referring to an actual physical bout as it the conflict and contrast of the two titular characters' background, world views, motivations and beliefs. It is a movie that is more likely to make you think rather than cheer, more likely to make you question reality rather than be drawn into a fantasy.

 A godlike alien makes his presence felt in the world, he is met with an equal measure of reverence and fear. Some see him as a saviour, others see him as a threat. Among the latter is billionaire Bruce Wayne, who fights crime as the caped crusader Batman. An ill fated mission in the desert sets superman in the spotlight once again. As the world debates on the responsibilities of this superhero, disaster strikes which pits both Batman and Superman in a clash of ideologies, then a clash of personalities and lastly the epic clash of might and muscle. But threats lurk in the shadows, many threats, and with it, just as many subplots.

 So many subplots that the initial hour of the movie feels bloated. What seems like a meandering mess slowly comes together like branches in a pie chart. As the pieces fit and perceived chaos comes into order, viewers sharp enough would have noticed the foreshadowing of plot elements to come. The slow build up addresses elements from the preceding MAN OF STEEL film and acts like an allegory to the real life criticisms that previous movie faced. Though it manages to hold our intrigue without splitting at the seams, this jigsaw style, non linear plot development may not appeal to everyone, especially those who are more used to traditional chronological arrangement of plot beats or the modern "right into the action" blockbusters.

 What comes next is.......actually less epic than I thought it would be. It is less the super powered death match of the century but a more intimate examination of ideologies and philosophies surrounding the superhero mythos and how those philosophies relate and intertwine in a very real and familiar world. The fallible and corruptible nature of man, the benevolent god debate, the burden of responsibility, doing the "right" thing in a world where right and wrong is subjective, BVS explores all these. The prize bout of batman beating superman draws parallels to real life hate crimes against minorities or migrants with superman as the ultimate migrant.

 Juxtaposed against the differing ideologies embodied by the conflicting trinity of Batman, Lex Luthor and Superman is the theme of how ones past shapes the present. We have three surprisingly well developed characters dealing with past trauma in wholly different ways in accordance with their personalities. The main attraction here is Ben Affleck's Batman. He oozes a restrained intensity with a volcano of emotions boiling beneath the surface, hidden behind a stoic mask. The world weary Wayne has channeled his loss into an unrelenting force against crime but unknowingly projects his past failures onto his current ones.

Similarly for Lex Luthor, he is the opposite reflection of Bruce Wayne. This young, sports shoe and t-shirt wearing eccentric tech mogul is full of energy in contrast to Wayne's older, mellowed portrayal. A phrase he quotes during a speech about having all the knowledge without the power, and the frustrated way he spits it out in contempt underpins his motivations perfectly. He is hilarious without losing his menace, a smidgen of humour in the otherwise serious film.

 Superman on the other less of a character and more of a concept. He acts best as the subject that fuels the debate, if he acts at all. For starters, there is little contrast in Henry Cavill's portrayal of the superman/Clark Kent dichotomy. One is just Superman with a costume, the other is superman in civvies and glasses. Exact same tone of voice, exact same facial expressions that only alternate between morose and angry. Wooden performance aside, BVS elaborates, addresses and brings to closure many of the themes first brought up in its predecessor MAN OF STEEL.

Perhaps the experience would be a complete one when this is viewed in tandem with the former? Surprisingly, the movie does not go full on dark and gritty like MAN OF STEEL did. As mentioned, Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor is like a devious bugs bunny full of dark ironic humour (Granny's Peach Tea). Laurence Fishburne as Perry White never fails to bring a chuckle. And the witty banter and strong chemistry between Affleck's Wayne and Gal Gadot's mysterious Diana Prince is absolutely charming.

Even the colour palette seems more vivid with clear distinct shades, most evident in the black and grey of batman's costume, quite unlike the washed out muted tones in MAN OF STEEL. Zack Snyder alternates between slow motion scenes of a surreal, almost otherworldly, feel, and the hyperkinetic shakey cam going full on "Michael Bay" for the action. His collaborator Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL returns for the music providing a heavy grandiose score full of percussion and choir chanting as if the movie were an operatic epic.

 Through its visuals, narrative and characters, BVS presents an evolution mirroring Superman's evolution from a powerful farm boy guarding himself and his powers against a suspicious world into a full fledged hero who would put the lives of others before his own. Perhaps this is how BVS was meant to be seen: as a natural continuation of MAN OF STEEL and a natural evolution of its themes.

Like its titular heroes, BATMAN V SUPERMAN has divided people in opinion. It tries to do a lot and in doing so may be a challenge for simpler minded audiences to comprehend and follow. This is a complex movie delving into complex themes but maybe people have grown accustomed to something friendlier. Few current day superhero comics, let alone movies, dare to deconstruct and explore the nature of trust, power, and question the inherent good or evil in human hearts. These philosophical questions are brought up, lending much needed depth to a genre reduced in recent years to superficial childlike thrills.  And by the movie's poignant end, we see how two individuals rise above their world burdens and embrace ideals that they had previously abandoned.

Filled with subtle but powerful emotional moments, equally powerful fight scenes, and strong underlying themes and real life allegory, BVS is loud, grand and an easily misunderstood creature. It is different from the more light hearted superhero movies of recent years and in that respect it will get shoehorned into the expectations of what a superhero movie should be rather than be appreciated for what it is and what it could be.

 All this on account of a misleading title.

*****************************Review End***************************

Entertainment: A-
Story: B-
Acting: A-
Characters: B
Music: A-
Replay value: A
"Brains": A-

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The BATMAN V SUPERMAN movie i hope to see

Trailers have showed us quite a bit and many have tried to piece together the story: batman sees the full destructive power of superman, gets obsessed with taking him down, superman fights batman, genetically enhanced clone of zod appears, trinity unites to stop the clone thus starting the justice league. 

It's a pretty standard narrative and if it turns out to be true falls a little within the realm of "disappointing". 

But what if the trailer is a switch-up from what is really going to happen?
something like this:

WE first see the battle of Metropolis from Man of Steel from the point of view of Bruce Wayne. This incident spurs Wayne to once again don his identify of the masked vigilante known as the Batman, cracking down on crime in Gotham city with a vengeance.

Scenes of Wayne reclaiming the mantle of the Bat are interspersed with Superman first answering to a committee hearing about the battle of metropolis and the lives lost.
During that hearing, superman pledges to be a force for good and begins carrying out heroic deeds across the world starting with the rescue of a near fatal space rocket accident.

As time goes by, Superman slowly gains the trust and approval of supporters.

At the same time, Batman steps up his battle on crime to the point where Gotham city has come to fear him and his brutal methods.

A year later, Superman is hailed as a hero of Metropolis and a statue is erected in his honour.

By this time, Clark Kent (possibly fuelled by his success as Superman) starts getting a big head and ambitious (taking on the batman as a reporter), desperate to bring justice to a city that is plagued by a vigilante (Gotham). He has his suspicions on a connection between Wayne and the Batman (suspects Wayne is supplying funds and technology to the vigilante). 

At a elite social event, Clark meets Bruce Wayne and he has ideological disputes with Bruce Wayne, setting up the conflict. We are introduced to Lex Luthor, a business competitor to Bruce Wayne. Desperate to topple Wayne as a business competitor, Lex befriends Clark in hopes to ride on some positive journalism. Remember, even with his powers, clark is still a rather naive farm boy at heart and gets suckered by luthors's sweet talk against Bruce Wayne and the batman and feeding Clark's desire to dig out the truth.

The clone of zod appears at this point. Lex's plan was to destroy superman and with Lex at this event, he would have the perfect alibi for innocence. Bruce goes into action as Batman, single handedly taking on the clone with an array of impressive weapons. But he is no match and lures the clone into the open while fighting a retreating battle.

Superman arrives and manages to hold off the clone for a while until Batman returns with more firepower.
Batman rains machine gun fire down on the clone who retaliates with a heat vision blast that crashes the Batplane.
As the clone prepares to finish them off, Wonder Woman appears.

After a prolonged battle and the help of Wonder Woman, superman is forced to use devastating means to take out the creature.

 His brash actions and show of power frightens batman and the world. Wonder Woman leaves and we get a sense that she is planning something after being shocked at the extent of superman's unchecked might.

Superman turns the corpse of the clone over to to lex Luthor to uncover the origin of the clone, not knowing that it was lex who was the creator.(we see this in flashback either at this point or a later point)

 Lois also goes on her own investigation of lexcorp. It is soon revealed that superman has also been confiding in lex. 
Through lex luthors's sweet talk about winning more support from the people, superman is genuinely convinced that batman is crossing the vigilante line and thus sets out to stop him. 

Powerless to stop batman as a reporter, Clark resorts to stopping batman as Superman. Superman finds batman in Gotham where the bat had just finished cracking down on some mob weapons smuggling ring.

Superman warns batman to stop and this just enrages batman who feels his paranoia  had been proven right. He retaliates by threatening Superman with the "do you bleed" quote.

This fuels batman's paranoia that superman may one day become a god-King; the nightmares of a post apocalyptic earth do not help the matter.

The final showdown between batman and superman looms. Batman creates his mechanised batsuit. Lex has caught Lois snooping around and holds her hostage and gloats about how his manipulation had set up the confrontation between batman and superman.

Superman finds out but in an attempt to rescue Lois is threatened by Lex to either go through with taking down batman or Lois dies. With superman at his mercy, lex humiliates the man of steel by asking him to kneel.

The deal is struck: batman dies or Lois does. Unknown to superman, a certain green rock in luthor' room had exposed superman to an unknown type of radiation.

Superman need not hunt Long as the batsignal lights up the night sky. 

The battle between God and man begins with batman in a newly acquired mech suit. 

The battle is one sided initially, it only seems evenly matched because superman makes it clear he is holding back.

Soon the man of steel seems to lose strength when a direct punch is caught by batman.

The dark knight hands superman the beat down of his life at this point.

Luthor lets Lois go but not before threatening to ruin her, her family and everything she holds dear if she ever writes an anti-Luthor article. With no proof of their meeting and no leverage to bargain, Lois is caught in a checkmate; write the truth and be ruined forever or publish Luthor sanctioned lies that glorify lexcorp and her life's status quo remains free of incidents.

We find out that Lex wanted to win either publicity or some weapons contract by creating the clone to destroy superman but he didn't count on batman teaming with superman once the battle starts to involve Gotham. Now that the two are at loggerheads, Luthor still wins.

We cut back to the battle. Batman stands over a defeated and bloodied superman.bbatman reveals he knows superman's alter ego as Clark Kent and refers to him as such.

As he starts on his infamous monologue about wanting Clark to remember batman as the man who beat the superman, superman's strength slowly returns.

The man of steel catches batman mid-sentence, loses his cool and delivers a handy beat down to the batman, ending in a scenario similar to the battle between superman and zod in Man of Steel. Batman makes it clear that he would never stop his vigilante ways and never stop hunting superman, taunting him to resort to fatal means once again to end the battle.

Just as it seems superman is going to end batman's life, he redirects his blow hitting the ground beside a fallen batman. Superman comments that he has to be better than just a man. He repeats Jor-el's monologue from Man of Steel about being a symbol and that he would not resort to killing ever again. He then concludes with a quote which is a homage to the Christopher reeves superman. Something like:
"I am not your enemy. They are not your enemy. There are good people here and people who wish to be. They need a light show them, to show you, a better way"

With those parting words, superman leaves. Batman is left thinking. He flash back to his tragic past and mulls over Superman's words. Perhaps the man of steel is right?  Perhaps there is hope for this uncontrollable godlike alien to be the hero that the world needs.

Elsewhere lex Luthor has the zod clone in stasis undergoing additional mutations that include elongated spikes and denser musculature.

Lois Lane meets with Superman but does not tell him about her debacle with Lex Luthor for fear of Luthor's threats. She does encourage Superman to fight the good fight. 

A voiceover by Wonder Woman is interspersed with the arrival of Super powered beings at an undisclosed location: an atlantean warrior King, a scarlet speedster, an intergalactic enforcer clad in green, a cyborg. 

"You have seen what he can do, what he is capable of.  I count you among the most powerful this world has to offer. And I come to you to ask for your help. His is strong but reckless, dangerous. It will take all of us together to stop the reign of the Superman before it can begin.

The justice league is formed.
Their first Mission: hunt down and apprehend the kryptonian Man of Steel.