Thoughts On Justice League

JL Film PosterIt’s been years since I’ve written a review of anything, but after seeing Justice League on opening day, I’ve had some thoughts percolating in my mind.

First up, I’m a big Justice League fan. I’ve always been a DC Comics diehard and have been devouring comics since before puberty, so I have thirty years of minutiae stored up in my brain to “impress” my friends and answer the occasional quiz question. When DC rebooted their entire line with the New 52 initiative, I pretty quickly stopped feasting on superhero comics, but I do enjoy the occasional nibble.

In short, I was disappointed with the JL film. Yes, there were some good things about it, and there was some serious behind the scenes issues that led the film to not being all it should’ve been, but with that in mind, here are a few bullet points.

I like Ben Affleck. He’s a great actor and director, and is actually a pretty good choice to play an older Batman. However, just because he has pointy ears and a gruff voice doesn’t make him the Dark Knight. When asked what his superpowers are, Batman answers, “I’m rich.” That’s not something Batman would say. That’s a Tony Stark line. It doesn’t belong here. With the Flash and Cyborg, the film has enough humour. Don’t drag Batman in to it too. Let him be Batman. Not everyone needs to be witty.

The first scene is all about how Superman inspires people, and how his death at the hands of Doomsday at Batman v Superman has united the world in a sense of loss. In the two Superman films we’ve seen starring Henry Cavill prior to this, there’s nothing inspiring about him. He doesn’t inspire. He terrifies! He’s not warm, and smiling. Thor has taken the role that Superman should have. If you ask anyone (kids or adults), who’d they’d love to hang out with, I’d imagine most would easily choose the happy god of thunder over the glowering, morose Man of Steel. This is a Superman who allowed his earthly Dad to die, caused massive property damage and killed Zod infront of a traumatised family, when he had so many other options available. (Fly him up to space! spin him round so he loses consciousness! even break his limbs! anything but neck snapping!). The Superman who has existed for almost a century in pop culture, and who will outlast all film makers, is someone who cherishes life and only takes it as an absolute last resort. The last time Superman was properly portrayed was in the 1980s with the maginificent Christopher Reeve. Who else could say, “I like pink very much Lois,” with a straight face, let alone with gravitas and sincerity? The world would not mourn the death of this version of Superman. They barely knew him, let alone embraced him.

There was a cleaner who showed up briefly at STAR Labs. They could’ve made him Rudy Jones, who becomes the Parasite, and as Kevin Smith pointed out – even the thief at the start of the film could’ve been a DC character, rather than a generic bad guy. Again, the terrorists who Wonder Woman stops could’ve been anyone from DC’s rich history, like Cheetah, or the Royal Flush Gang, or even someone linked to Steppenwolf, to give the villain  much needed dramatic weight. Speaking of which…

Steppenwolf had no visible motivation. A scene where he’s speaking to a hidden Darkseid would’ve helped tremendously. Perhaps he could be sent off to earth amidst cheering crowds from Apokolips, or he’s failed to conquer other planets before and this is his last attempt before Darkseid executes him in dishonour, and he thinks earth will be an uneasy target. As it is, Steppenwolf just shows up to cause havoc and..be bad.

There was no need for the jokes at Aquaman and the approach they took to make him the tough guy was desperate. I can imagine the writers thinking, “Quick! Let’s make fun of Aquaman before the audience does, and then we’ll show how grumpy and angry he really is. That’ll shut them up!” Aquaman is a great character, as Peter David has shown with his tremendous run on the comics. When your film stars apologizing for a great character, it’s not off to a good start. The acting here is great though, and Jason Momoa, like his castmates does a great job with these versions of the characters.

The Russian family at the final battle was odd. Perhaps it was meant to be a microcosm of the potentail destruction the rest of the world would face, like the family at the end of Batman v Superman was.

Okay, now the good points….

It was pretty awesome to see Superman unleashed and take on the whole League single-handedly. Oh yeah.

The humour generally works, with the scene with Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s lasso a nice touch.

The Mother Box battle/Amazonian escape was thrilling.

Both end credits scenes are great, and even the actual credits thanked comics creators such as Jack Kirby, and I noticed Detective Crispus Allen, who eventually becomes The Spectre, listed as a character. Nice.

DC’s animated films have a much better track record of their live action output, barring the last two (The Killing Joke, Batman and Harley Quinn) and I’m excited to see the two Death and Return of Superman animated films that kick off next year.

Geoff Johns is a legend and super talented writer, so his continued involvement in any live action DC films is a huge step in the right direction. I am cautiously optimistic about what DC has planned next, and the Wonder Woman film showed that they can get it right. Come on DC. You can do it!

Justice League: War Clip

DC Comics/ Warner Bros. have been making great animated films for the last few years, at the rate of about two a year it seems. These are always accessible to those new to comics, and are always based on some classic and recent tales, and come with entertaining and informative bonus features. Since DC have a hit (Young Justice, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and miss (quickly cancelled Beware the Batman!) ratio when it comes to their cartoons on TV, these animated films are a much safer bet.

Their next one is called Justice League: War and is based on the first few issues of the 2011 comics tale told by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee about how the League first met. Below is the first official clip, which seems to follow the comic pretty closely, and a description.

When the powerful Darkseid and his massive, relentless forces invade Earth, a group of previously unaligned super heroes – misunderstood and, in some cases, hunted by the authorities – discover the only way to fend off the attack will be to work together as a cohesive unit. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Shazam and, in his origin story, Cyborg combine their respective talents in an all-out battle to save the planet. Based on the 2012 graphic novel, “Justice League: Origin,” by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee, Justice League: War provides a glance into the world before the Justice League was created, and offers the initial animated incarnation of DC Entertainment’s “The New 52.”

“Justice League: War” arrives via Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digitial HD on February 4, 2014from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

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Superman 74 Years Animation

I could watch this all day! To celebrate 75 years of Superman this year, animation legend Bruce Timm, and Man of Steel director Zack Snyder have teamed up for this excellent, two minute summary of Superman’s storied past, noting the major events and media portrayals over the years. It’s not on YouTube yet, but you can watch it here.

It kicks off with a bang with his first appearance on the cover of Action Comics #1 and ends (of course) lingering on the latest film version, with fights with classic enemies such as Doomsday (who killed him), Braniac and even the fight with Muhammad Ali, and many of the varied artistic styles which have graced Superman in those decades. This short will also be included in next month’s release of the Man of Steel on Blu-Ray.

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Man of Steel Blu-Ray and DVD on November 12

The latest Superman reboot, which I reviewed here will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 12, with a host of extras. Although the film had some issues, I’m looking forward to watching it again, and even more curious to see the 2015 sequel starring Ben Affleck as Batman. Official press release and images below.

“‘Man of Steel’ soars high.”

– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

A HERO WILL RISE WHEN

Man of Steel

ARRIVES ONTO BLU-RAY 3D COMBO PACK,

BLU-RAY COMBO PACK, DVD 2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION, 3D LIMITED COLLECTOR’S EDITION and DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ON NOVEMBER 12 FROM

WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Blu-ray Combo Packs include nearly 4 hours of special features

All disc versions feature UltraViolet

The fate of mankind is in the hands of one man when “Man of Steel”Ô arrives onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-disc Special Edition, 3D Limited Collector’s Edition and Digital Download on November 12 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. In “Man of Steel,” Clark Kent is forced to confront his extraterrestrial past and embrace his hidden powers when Earth is threatened with destruction.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures comes “Man of Steel,” starring Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Kal-El under the direction of Zack Snyder.

The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (“The Master,” 2012), Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” 2008), Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves,” 1990), Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful,” 2002), Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It,” 1993), Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, and Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator,” 1992).

“Man of Steel” is produced by Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer & Nolan, based upon Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and published by DC Entertainment. Thomas Tull, Lloyd Phillips and Jon Peters served as executive producers.

Man of Steel” will be available on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99, on DVD 2-disc Special Edition for $28.98, and as a 3D Limited Collector’s Edition for $59.99.  The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition and standard definition; the DVD 2-disc Special Edition features the theatrical version in standard definition; and the 3D Limited Collector’s Edition features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition, and also includes a limited release metal “S” glyph with lucite glass stand.  The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-disc Special Edition and 3D Limited Collector’s Edition include UltraViolet* which allows consumers to download and instantly stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to a wide range of devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players. 

SYNOPSIS

A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth.  As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do.  But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

“Man of Steel” Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and 3D Limited Collector’s Edition contain the following special features:

  • ·         Journey of Discovery: Creating “Man of Steel” – This immersive feature-length experience allows you to watch the movie with director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and others as they share the incredible journey to re-imagine Superman.
  • ·         Strong Characters, Legendary Roles – Explore the legendary characters of the Superman mythology and how they have evolved in this new iteration of the Superman story.
  • ·         All-Out Action – Go inside the intense training regimen that sculpted Henry Cavill into the Man of Steel and Michael Shannon and Antje Traue into his Kyptonian nemeses.  Includes interviews with cast and crew.
  • ·         Krypton Decoded – Dylan Sprayberry (Clark Kent, age 13) gives the lowdown on all the amazing Krypton tech, weapons and spaceships featured in “Man of Steel.”
  • ·         Planet Krypton – The world’s first exploration of Krypton and its lost society.

“Man of Steel” DVD 2-disc Special Edition contains the following special features:

  • ·         Strong Characters, Legendary Roles
  • ·         All-Out Action
  • ·         Krypton Decoded

Man of Steel 3D Release

MOS_3DBD Combo_2D SKEW (7-30)

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Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Clip

After seeing the featurette on DC/Warner Bros’ latest animated film, Flashpoint on the just released Superman: Unbound Blu-Ray I’m eagerly awaiting its release, which we know now is July 30. Very soon! Official details below regarding the dark, alternate version of the DC Universe, as based on the great 2011 mini-series from Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert. A few screenshots, and the first clip from the film is also below, in which Cyborg (who I think has a metallic sounding voice for the first time, which makes sense) attempts to recruit Batman.

The film will have its World Premiere at Comic-Con in San Diego on Friday, July 19 from 7:30-9:30pm in Ballroom 20. The premiere/panel description with anticipated participants is below. Panelists are
subject to change (which could include additions!)

Fans can also meet and get autographs (on a Comic-Con exclusive mini-poster) from the panelists on Saturday, July 20 from 11:00am-Noon at the Warner Bros. Booth.

“Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” will be released as a Blu-Ray Combo Pack and DVD on July 30, 2013.

Here is the premiere/panel description:
Friday, July 19
7:30-9:30 World Premiere of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox –
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation invite you to be the first to experience Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the highly-anticipated next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. When time travel allows a past wrong to be righted for Flash and his family, the event’s temporal ripples prove disastrous, creating a fractured,
alternate reality where the Justice League never formed, and even Superman is nowhere to be found. Amidst a new world being ravaged by a fierce war between Wonder Woman’s Amazons and Aquaman’s Atlanteans, Flash must team with a grittier, more violent Batman and government agent Cyborg to restore the continuity of Flash’s original timeline.

Come for the film, but stay for the star-studded panel that features Grey’s Anatomy stars Justin Chambers and Kevin McKidd as Flash and Batman, respectively, along with C. Thomas Howell (Southland), Cary
Elwes (The Princess Bride), Sam Daly (The Daly Show) and a few surprise voice cast members, plus the filmmaking team of producer James Tucker (Superman: Unbound), director Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark
Knight Returns), dialogue director Andrea Romano (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns), screenwriter Jim Krieg (Green Lantern: The Animated Series) and character designer Phil Bourassa (Young Justice).
Moderator Gary Miereanu will add to the fun with a special announcement of the 2014 DCU movie slate, as well as exclusive, cast-autographed prizes for a few lucky fans. Based on the landmark mini-series by Geoff Johns & Andy Kubert, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox will be available as a digital download on July 19, 2013 and a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack on July 30, 2013.

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Above are Batman, Cyborg, Flash, Lois Lane, Reverse Flash and Wonder Woman.

The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Phew. That’s a mouthful. A feast for the eyes too.

Coming on September 24 for just under $100 is a collection of all three of Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Batman films, with some pretty cool extra goodies. I’d love to watch the chat between Nolan, and fellow DC Comics adaptation director Richard Donner (Superman: The Movie). Official details below.

THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY:

ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION

BLU-RAY™ DEBUT SEPTEMBER 24

FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT 

All Three Films, New Special Features, and Memorabilia

 Christopher Nolan’s reimagining of the Batman franchise beginning with 2005’s Batman Begins enjoyed phenomenal critical and box-office success.

Now on September 24, Nolan’s three Batman films  Batman Begins, The Dark Knight,and The Dark Knight Rises – will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment asThe Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition. The six-disc set will feature all three films with their existing extra content, two new featurettes and exclusive new collectible memorabilia. This must-own collection for fans of DC Comics’ Caped Crusader is available in premium packaging and will sell for $99.97 SRP.

About the Ultimate Collector’s Edition (UCE):

*Disc 1 – Batman Begins Feature and Special Features

*Disc 2 – The Dark Knight Feature

*Disc 3 – The Dark Knight Special Features

*Disc 4 – The Dark Knight Rises Feature

*Disc 5 – The Dark Knight Rises Special Features

*Disc 6 – Bonus Disc of New Special Features (details follow)

NEW Special Features:

  • The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of The Dark Knight Trilogy The inside perspective on the fascinating story behind the creation of one of the most celebrated franchises and how it changed the scope of movie making….forever.  Full of never-before-seen footage, rare moments, and exclusive interviews with  Guillermo Del Toro, Damon Lindelof, Michael Mann, Richard Roeper, Zack Snyder and others.
  • ·         Christopher Nolan & Richard Donner: A Conversation – For the first time, Directors Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy) and Richard Donner (Superman) sit down to discuss the trials and triumphs involved in bringing the two most iconic superheroes of all time to the big screen, and how Superman influenced Nolan when developing Batman Begins.
  • ·         IMAX® Sequences: The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises – See your favorite scenes as they were intended in the original IMAX© aspect ratio

Exclusive NEW Memorabilia:

  • ·         Premium Mattel Hot Wheels Vehicles: Batmobile, Batpod and Tumbler
  • ·         Newly commissioned collectible art cards by Mondo featuring Scarecrow, Joker, Bane, Harvey Dent, and Ra’s al Ghul
  • ·         48-page hardcover book featuring production stills and behind the scenes images from all three movies

About The Films

Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight’s emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents’ murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. He returns toGotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.

The Dark Knight (2008)

The follow-up to Batman BeginsThe Dark Knight reunites director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale, who reprises the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in his continuing war on crime. With the help of Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The triumvirate proves effective, but soon find themselves prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker (Heath Ledger), who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces Batman closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante. Maggie Gyllenhaal joins the cast as Rachel Dawes. Returning from Batman Begins are Oldman, Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

Dark Knight Rises (2012)

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.

But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane. Christian Bale stars, along with Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Morgan Freeman.

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Man of Steel Review

Here it is – my thoughts on Superman’s newest big screen epic. We here in Australia didn’t receive the film until about 2 weeks after most other countries, but it was worth the wait.

Read my full review here.

Man of Steel Superman

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