Tag Archive: justice league


Man of Steel Review

In 2006, Warner Bros. and DC decided to reboot Superman (at the same time as tying it in to the original films) with the help of Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh. Despite doing well both critically and commercially (the ninth highest grossing film of that year worldwide) any plans of a sequel were put to rest as the studios bowed down to fans’ criticism of the film. The studios have thrown caution to the wind this time with a sequel already reportedly being worked on and Man of Steel setting the groundwork for Justice League.

“Where do I come from?”

Henry Cavill is Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman, sent to Earth during the destruction of his home planet of Krypton and raised on Earth by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane). When what is left of the alien race return to Earth to find Clark and rebuild their own species from scratch, he is forced to choose between his heritage and his new home.

In something that has been given relatively little thought or sight on screen in recent years, Zack Snyder (the director being entrusted with the hopes and dreams of Justice League on his shoulders) plunges the audience right into Krypton’s destruction. The movie opens with some incredible special effects and a great sense of action as Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) come to blows over the future of their planet. Man of Steel sets the bar high for its action sequences with Jor-El and Zod engaging in the first real teaser of the super powered fights that we are anticipating seeing the red and blue of Superman engage in.

“What if a child aspired to something greater?”

On Earth the excitement continues to grow as we follow Clark around in a number of jobs, from fisherman to barman, in which we learn more about the character and his selflessness; he quickly races off to save a crew from a burning oil rig. His adult life is interrupted with trips back to his childhood: Clark saving his class from drowning on a school bus, being bullied for being different, coming to terms with his abilities. You get the impression that you might actually care about this alien. Then Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is introduced and all the groundwork laid so far beings to unravel.

Unfortunately, you can’t really have a Superman movie without featuring Lois Lane in some capacity. And while she may have served a purpose previously as bringing out another human layer to Clark’s character, in Man of Steel she is little more than an annoyance and one of the most pointless characters ever. There was no need for her to be taken aboard the Krypton spaceship, it didn’t seem like Zod had any needs for her to be on board other than so she could learn how to stop them from destroying Clark and Earth.

“Welcome to the Planet”

The character development that started so promisingly disappears when Clark meets Lois. Just two or three meetings later and Lois now knows everything about Clark and the two of them have decided that they are in love. It just feels so underwhelming and undeveloped that you being to question whether some scenes have been cut from the final edit. It’s as if Snyder and David S. Goyer (screenwriter) have decided that because everyone knows Lois and Clark are meant to be together, that’s a good enough reason in itself for it to happen without any seeds being set for a relationship. And the kiss at the end? Cliche and forced. The relationship could have been allowed time to grow and be explored if pointless scenes asking us to care about 2-bit characters who have had 5 minute screen time weren’t shoe horned in.

Despite all this, Man of Steel does offer some moments of relief. The fight scenes are incredible; one on one fights scaling over miles of ground. The enormous difference between humans and Kryptons is there for all to see. Superman’s flight, his heat vision, x-ray vision (underused) and heightened senses are all portrayed wonderfully and the special effects live up to the films early promise.

“I will find him!”

There are good performances all round, Kevin Costner makes a true return to form, providing a really great performance with limited screen time. Cavill, Crowe and Shannon all perform as well as the script allows as well. One of the main criticisms levelled at Man of Steel is the inevitable loss of human life that seems to not affect Superman and this cannot be ignored.

We’re supposed to believe that Superman, of all superheroes, this moral beacon of justice and hope, is okay with charging through petrol stations, diving through skyscrapers and pummeling his way around a small town is doing this and giving no thought to the innocent people inside all these buildings that are going to die because of his actions? I don’t buy that. And when SPOILER Superman does kill someone, he has a few seconds to regret it before being rushed off screen so the end credits can take his place.

“What do you think?”

Overall, Man of Steel does provide entertainment, that much is certain. The special effects and big budget moments are really worth seeing. But it adds nothing new to Superman that hasn’t been seen before, leaving the unanswerable question: what was the point? Cavill has the potential to be the best Superman ever, but he needs a good script and brilliant story in the sequel to attain this.

My Rating: 6/10.

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DC and Warner Bros. have really shot themselves in the foot by slating a 2015 release for their big superhero team up movie: Justice League. One of the main things that saw Marvel’s The Avengers pay off so well is that the process for creating that film began way back in 2008 when, at the end of Iron Man, Nick Fury turned up and told Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative. What followed was the incorporation of big characters in other strands of the franchise: Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, Agent Coulson in Iron Man and Thor, Nick Fury in Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and Hawkeye in Thor. It’s too late, or too soon depending on how you look at it, for Justice League to be able to do that. Christopher Nolan just wrapped up The Dark Knight trilogy for Batman, Man of Steel is just rebooting Superman, Aquaman has become a joke among mainstream audiences largely thanks to Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory while The Green Lantern bombed. So what should the line up for the Justice League look like and who should play the famous characters?

Justice League_Warner Bros

 

Batman

Batman would be the hardest character to bring to Justice League. After what Christopher Nolan did with the character it’s going to be incredibly hard for anyone to reboot Batman so soon after one of the greatest trilogies of all time. The world of The Dark Knight doesn’t really fit with the fantastical element of Justice League either. I think that, although he is one of the biggest and best characters that DC have to offer, Batman should be left out of the roster until at least the sequel. Controversial, I know.

Superman

Even with Man of Steel looking like it’s going to be a grittier take on the character that I absolutely despise more than anything, it will still fit in with the fantastical element because at the end of the day, Superman is an alien who can easily be defeated by ‘space rock’. It won’t be too hard, I imagine, to connect Man of Steel to Justice League. New information released in the past 24 hours seems to have leaked a possible line up for Justice League and according to that, it will be the same Superman from Man of Steel so Henry Cavill would reprise the role.

 

Wonder Woman

The original and the best female superhero. Wonder Woman was been the subject of a very recent unsuccessful attempt to transfer the character to the big screen and casting is vital in terms of this character. Apparently there is a script in the works for a Wonder Woman solo film that will take place before Justice League (whether it will be released before it or not remains to be seen though) but who should play her? Gina Carano would be the pick for me; getting her break out in Haywire and soon to be appearing in the sixth Fast and Furious film, the mixed martial arts fighter has proven she can act and would be perfect for the role.

 

Aquaman

According to the leaked line up Aquaman is going to be pivotal to the story in Justice League. If it is going to be a big part then a big name actor should be cast, in order to reclaim a positive reputation for the character. Let’s keep it short and sweet. Ryan Gosling.

 

Green Lantern

Unfortunately, the Green Lantern movie flopped and probably will not be getting a sequel (that’s not unfortunate though). The unfortunate bit is that the Green Lantern in Justice League is likely to be the same character but be re-written. However, will Ryan Reynolds return or will he be re-cast Hulk style? David Boreanaz voiced Green Lantern in Justice League: The New Frontier and is a very good actor who I would like to see in the role. However, I think the character would need a darker rewrite if that was to be the case.

 

Flash

The fastest man on Earth, Flash is a character who must be in the film. The casting of Flash largely depends on which incarnation of the character they go for, although it is likely they will go for Barry Allen. Every comic book fan wants to see Nathan Fillion in a comic book movie and he was largely tipped for Green Lantern and Marvel’s Ant-Man but I think he would make a great Flash.

 

Martian Manhunter

If Darkseid is the villain of the film then it is imperative that Martian Manhunter is involved. Martian Manhunter is an alien who has lived on Earth (just like *yawn* Superman) for over one hundred years who has knowledge of Darkseid and his reign. If a Black Panther movie isn’t going to be made anytime soon and if Djimon Hounsou isn’t cast in it then he should surely be Martian Manhunter.

Well this week’s news is all about sequels (some wanted, some not) and scriptwriters being hired. We’ll start with the news that a sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp (as the Mad Hatter, not Alice), has finally started moving. I don’t say finally because I’ve been waiting ages for a sequel as a fan of the film, but because despite its mixed reviews Alice in Wonderland is the twelfth highest grossing movie of all time so it’s amazing that in a sequel heavy cinema scene that it has taken so long to get off the ground. Linda Woolverton is the woman apparently writing the script, which fits seeing as though she wrote the first film, and hopefully the sequel will be as good as her earlier works: The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan.

 

Wreck-It Ralph absolutely smashed the box office when it was released over in America and fast became a hit with audiences and critics alike. Disney have been fast to get a sequel rushing ahead with their animated feature. Despite the fact that Wreck-It Ralph was full of cameos from very famous video game characters there was one very obvious omission, everyone’s favourite Italian plumber (because how many do you really know?) Mario! Well with the sequel Disney are trying to find an organic way to implement him into the story saying they will put him in if they can find him something good to do, so good news for video game fans and movie fans alike.

 

Columbia are working on a remake of the children’s classic film Jumanji. The 1995 original was a tale of kids who have to deal with the dangers of the jungle when the titular board game starts unleashing animals and more as they play. Although there is no director or stars attached to the project Columbia have now hired a writer and that is Stranger Than Fiction scriptwriter Zach Helm. Although Stranger Than Fiction was well received his only attempt at family films so far, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, was not so well received.

 

Earlier this year it was announced that Fantastic Four was set to receive a reboot directed by Chronicle director Josh Trank. Well it has now been announced that the release date for Fantastic Four will be March 6th 2015. This, in my view, is a horrible move being as though some big ‘geeky’ franchises are also set to continue in 2015: The Avengers 2 and Star Wars: Episode VII are both set for release that year. Long awaited Ant-Man also has a 2015 release date; the Justice League movie is slated for a release in 2015 although I highly doubt that will come to fruition. Point is, the superhero market is very liquidated in 2015 with bigger films than the Fantastic Four reboot and after the shambolic original two films will anybody care about this attempt at a reboot when The Avengers 2 hits screens?

This week’s news comes from three of the biggest franchises in the geek world right now. Let’s start with Star Trek Into Darkness. Ever since LOST JJ Abrams has been known for keeping his projects very low key in terms of information that fans know and this has been true of the upcoming sequel to his Star Trek reboot. We’ve seen photos from set and we know Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the villain. This week an official synopsis has finally been released for the sequel:

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

This obviously still doesn’t give away any identity to Cumberbatch’s villain but it seems, from the synopsis, that Cumberbatch could be playing an old rival of Kirk’s from within the organisation of Starfleet that has become this ‘one man weapon of mass destruction’. Either way, it still sounds fantastic.

 

Next up. There has been a lot of talk about characters returning to the X-Men franchise for Days of Future Past. With the return of Bryan Singer as director of the franchise it seemed every more likely. Already James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Michael Fassbender are set to reprise their roles but now we also know that Patrick Stewart AND Ian McKellen are both returning! Bryan Singer has also said that there are “more announcements to be made” which could hint at several other returning characters from the original trilogy. It has long been a source of speculation but these announcements have absolutely made it clear that this will tie together all of the strands of the film series so far (hopefully). And it will be great to see two Xaviers and Magnetos on screen (especially since Stewart and McKellen do it so well).

They’re two of the most lovable old fellows in the acting world.

 

And finally.. this is just a rumour for now but as we all know there is a Justice League film in the works at Warner Bros. and this week Zack Snyder hinted that his Superman reboot Man of Steel could be tied in to it all. However, that’s not the news I’m bothered about. The rumour doing the rounds this week comes from an insider that has said that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in line to take up the Batman cowl for the superhero team up that won’t be as good as The Avengers. Obviously, if he did this would be a natural progression as JGL’s character (Christopher Nolan’s Robin) in The Dark Knight Rises, it is hinted, takes on the mantle of Batman after Bruce Wayne hangs up his job. However, it is still unknown whether Justice League will respect what happened in The Dark Knight trilogy (probably not) so JGL could still play Bruce Wayne if this was to be done, but like I said… for now this is just a rumour.

There are no awards for guessing that Warner Bros. and comic book company DC Comics are desperate to get their superhero team The Justice League to the big screen. After the phenomenal success of Marvel’s The Avengers, DC seem to be desperate to compete with them on the big screen which recently, they haven’t been able to do: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy is really the only good effort from DC recently with Superman Returns and The Green Lantern paling in comparison to Iron Man and Thor. Now Warner Bros. are pushing on with the Justice League project with directors being lined up (Ben Affleck has been reported to have been approached & turned it down) but this could lead to a huge failure rather than success.

The most obvious problem to me is the Batman problem. Before The Dark Knight Rises was even released there was talk of Warner Bros. planning to reboot the caped crusader as soon as just two or three years down the line. After the huge acclaim that Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises received it seems a ridiculous idea to want to reboot the character of Batman immediately, with fans not even having time to let the old Batman go first (although this didn’t seem to be too much of a problem for The Amazing Spider-Man, another Marvel success). With Batman being a founding member of the Justice League a movie version would seem to be lacking something without him.

Next up, there is Wonder Woman. The Avengers sole representative of the female genre came in the form of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and she was a very popular character in the third highest grossing movie of all time. This was no doubt down to the fact that she is largely a supporting character and at the helm of The Avengers was Joss Whedon, a man famed for his strong female characters. Wonder Woman is very different to Black Widow; Wonder Woman was the first female superhero and is a real staple in comic book history. She is the epitome of female superheroes and needs to be treated as such. Wonder Woman fans won’t want to see their favourite woman as a background character in someone else’s movie, they want to see her on par with the likes of Batman and Superman. Why is this a problem? Well, how well did Elektra and Catwoman do in their individual movies? And what happened to the new Wonder Woman television show? That’s right, cancelled after just a pilot. Not promising at all.

The new Superman film Man of Steel comes out later this year and, so far, it is unclear whether this will hint at a future Justice League movie. If it doesn’t then surely we will have to endure yet ANOTHER Superman reboot which would be horrible for film fans (and me especially as I already think Superman is a pretty boring character). It would also be pretty disappointing if it did because DC’s most recent non-Batman film was of course the largely disappointing Green Lantern. Green Lantern didn’t hint at a Justice League film either and you’ve got to really hope they’re not going to rehash it again just to get a Justice League movie out. Also, there is a very vast difference between The Green Lantern and (what we expect from) Man of Steel in terms of how real and grounded in reality each film is.

The wonderful thing about Marvel is that they had The Avengers planned for years, it was a long time in planning. The Avengers was a five year project that began back in 2008 and even before that when the film was in production. Whilst each film was coming out, though, we could tell that each film was happening in the same universe and little hints were laid (Cap’s shield in Iron Man 2, Tony Stark turning up in The Incredible Hulk, Agent Coulson’s constant appearances) to remind us what each film was leading up to. With each main character introduced in their own solo film we were given the chance to get to know each character by themselves then watch them change, grow and adapt as part of a team in The Avengers. It was a wonderful journey and an incredible moment in cinema history that showed just what could be accomplished with the right planning.

The Justice League so far has not laid any trails for fans to latch on to. I highly doubt there will be a moment in Man of Steel where Superman suddenly refers to The Green Lantern or anything like that. Warner Bros. really needs to take their time and make sure that they get individual films for Wonder Woman, Flash and, a little more difficult, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. Warner Bros. are going to need someone special at the helm just as Marvel had Joss Whedon and a bad sign already is that Christopher Nolan has said he will not be involved.

As fans of movies, comic books and superheroes we can only hope that Warner Bros. and DC just take their time, rather than trying to rush a cut and paste job onto the big screen in reply to Marvel.

Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt is a name that you may not be familiar with, although when shortened to Ben Affleck it is very difficult to avoid. Ben Affleck is arguably one of the biggest celebrities in the world and has been for some years, both for his work in the film industry and his relationships with a string of big name Hollywood ladies including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and his current wife Jennifer Garner. But what I know him for is his acting, writing, producing and directing of some brilliant and some not-so-brilliant, slightly below average films.

One of the most famous friendships in Hollywood: Affleck and Damon.

After appearing in small extra roles in a number of films including Field of Dreams and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Affleck really became known for his turns in Kevin Smith films Mallrats and Chasing Amy, however it was Good Will Hunting in 1997 that made him a household name. Good Will Hunting was nominated for nine Oscars including a Best Original Screenplay win for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon who shared the writing credit and both starred in the film too. This success then allowed Affleck to move into bigger roles and he pretty much became a huge success with all of his films becoming massive hits at the box office; Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and The Sum of All Fears. Affleck was acting among some big names and becoming one of them too whilst still doing smaller films including Shakespeare In Love, Dogma and Boiler Room.

A year after The Sum of All Fearswas released something bad happened to Ben Affleck’s acting career that he has never really recovered from. Ben Affleck states that his favourite comic book when he was growing up was Daredevil so when the chance arose to play the Marvel hero naturally Affleck jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, despite being praised for his casting and his role in the film it is not a very good film at all to be honest (although the director’s cut is actually meant to be a huge increase in quality) and since appearing in Daredevil Affleck has not really tastes any of the huge success he once had as an actor. Instead, he has appeared in a number of critical and commercial flops including Gigli, Surviving Christmas and Smokin’ Aces. He has however had smaller success with Hollywoodland in which Affleck received huge praise for his role as George Reeves in the biographical docudrama.

In order to get his career back on track Affleck decided to get behind the camera and begin directing films. His first feature was an adaptation of the Dennis LeHane novel Gone Baby Gone in which he cast his brother Casey Affleck¬† (a better actor than himself) in the lead role. The end product worked out brilliantly, the film was praised and Affleck directed it very very well; it is one of my favourite films. Whilst he does still act it is in the directors chair where Affleck is getting a lot of praise, more praise than he ever got as an actor. In 2010, Affleck directed The Town and starred in the lead role as well (ego?) but nonetheless the direction received huge praise again and Jeremy Renner got a surprise nod for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance under Affleck’s direction.

Affleck’s latest feature film as director is Argo and is due out later this year and there is a lot of expectation of the film as it is based on real life events and incorporates a lot of different themes so it will be interesting to see how Affleck brings them all together and whether he is successful or not. Also, and this is just a rumour for now, everyone knows that DC comics and Warner Bros. are trying to put out a Justice League movie after the success of Marvel’s team up in The Avengers but it is being reported that Ben Affleck is being lined up to direct. This would be a master stroke.

There is no doubt that Ben Affleck is a film star, but he should definitely star behind the camera from now on and continue his success in the director’s chair.