Justice League (2017) Review

Justice League has finally been released. It is the fifth entry in this DC movie universe. It is no real secret that this film had a lot of problems before and during the production of this movie. I wasn’t a big fan of Batman v. Superman but I didn’t hate it. I remember leaving the theater with the feeling that I needed to see the movie again because I was more confused than anything. It’s clear that the negative reception to that movie greatly affected this movie. So what did I think about this movie?

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Justice League is good. It’s not great but good. The problems with the movie are there from the beginning with some of the choppy editing. It’s no secret that there was a studio mandate that this movie had to be two hours or under. The movie does achieve that but at the cost of some fundamentals. The plot was always seemingly paper thin with a simple alien invasion story. But with a lot of edits, the character building elements aren’t as fleshed out and ultimately hurts the film.

The actual Justice League team does work though. Seeing Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash is a joy to see. Each character does get a chance to shine. We are already familiar with Batman and Wonder Woman and their characters are expanded on here. Batman is now more self aware of what a jerk he has been and trying to redeem himself after the debacle with Superman. Wonder Woman has come out of the shadows and becoming a much more well known hero around the world. The Flash is probably the next to get the most development as he super speed makes him look like he has ADD. Being the one hero without actual battle skills, it was always a relief to see him get flustered at some of the going ons. His more goofy elements are balanced out with serious scenes with his incarcerated father. Cyborg is the most dour and rightfully so as he is no longer a man and doesn’t understand himself. He never gets too serious as you understand his frustrations and he is quick to help out as soon as trouble hits his door. Aquaman probably gets the least screen time out of the five. There is a quick exposition scene where you understand his backstory but that is a lot left on the table.

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Then there is the Superman of it all. It’s no secret that Superman is in the movie. Without giving much away, he is not in that movie that much. He’s also not in the movie too little either. The movie does get a kick in the pants once his character becomes much more of a focal point. We see varying degrees of Superman. We see a scary Superman that pretty much solidifies everyone’s fear of this alien. Then the Superman we have all wanted Henry Cavill to be finally shows up and it is a sight to see.

As mentioned earlier, the plot is a bit of a mess despite being a simple story. It would be interesting to see as to what this movie was actually like last year before all of the changes. It would also be interesting to see if they had delayed the movie to accommodate the changes more. There are a lot of characters moments that could have been elaborated on. This definitely could have worked for the villain; Steppenwolf. A fairly generic bad guy who only has one mode and that is world domination. That may be fine but there could have been some more character put into him.

Speaking of Steppenwolf, this is another problem and that is the CGI. A lot of the graphics looks rushed and shoddy. These are especially evident in the scenes that had to be added or reshot. There were some instances that took me out of the movie. None that were ever too bad where I couldn’t enjoy the film but still noticeable. Just another reason as to why the movie should have been delayed.

But what we are left with is an uneven but enjoyable film. It does have a lot of problems. When I left the theater I did not leave with the same feeling that I did when I left Batman v. Superman. I instead left with the feeling that I wanted to see it again because of how much I enjoyed the movie. Better yet, I wanted to see where they took these characters in future films. If you have a film universe, that is arguably a win.

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SCORE: 7.5/10

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Justice League Trailer Takeaway

The final trailer for Justice League has arrived and there’s not much else new to it. If you’ve seen other trailers, it’s just really expanded sequences. Honestly, I still don’t even know what this movie is about. It looks to be a simple invasion movie, which might work best with all the characters in the movie. But here we go:

  • Superman-JusticeLeague.png Superman is back! Well sort of. Everyone knows that Superman will be back in this film but the trailer finally gives something to chew on. Of course it is presented as a dream sequence for the grieving Lois Lane. But what if this is not a dream sequence but actually the end of the movie?
  • The beginning of the trailer deals with the continuing repercussions from the “death” of Superman. Crime and various other bad things throughout the world have gone out of control.
  • More narration from Bruce Wayne/Batman about his nightmare from Batman v. Superman and how he foresaw the end of the world
  • There is a flashback to an ancient battle with the forces of Apokolips fighting the Amazons along with other forces from Earth. It looks like the goal is to terraform the Earth into another Apokolips.
  • Batman and Wonder Woman look to be the leaders of the team or at the very least the lynchpins
  • Various soundbites play about how none of the members can do what they do alone and they’re stronger together. There are quick shots of each of the heroes doing their thing. The world needs Superman.
  • Throughout we see the various members of the Justice League (minus Superman) in various action scenes, many with the members confronting Steppenwolf himself.
  • Again we never get a clear shot of Steppenwolf. Only quick glimpses. Though Steppenwolf is a CG character, I’m at least glad there is threat that the team has to fight. Not just an army of goons but there is a figurehead there that can talk to them.
  • The final scene is really just a scene about how giddy Barry Allen is to be teaming up with Bruce Wayne as he spots the Bat-signal in the sky.

Overall, it was a decent trailer. I’m already set in my ways to see the movie. I was genuinely shocked to see Clark Kent/Superman show up. But since it was presumably a dream sequence, they can have their cake and eat it too. But solid trailer and not to quote the tagline but I’m all in.

It (2017) Movie Review

The big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s seminal novel, It, has finally hit cinemas. The novel has already been adapted into a television miniseries in 1990. Hindsight is everything and while nostalgia plays a part, the miniseries is not that good. Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown is really the only thing that goes beyond critique as the great actor delivers a great performance. But that was then and this is now. Andy Muschetti, the director of Mama, has taken the reigns over the film adaptation which only covers one half of the story. How does it fare?

It is one of the best films of 2017. The filmmakers took a wise choice by instead of adapting the entire novel, they instead chose to go chronologically and thus the child half of the story. This helps keeps the film focused on one singular story instead of having to cater to the half where the children are adults. In fact, this makes the film feel more like a coming of age story…that just happens to feature a killer monster.

PennywisePeople were wondering how Bill Skarsgard would fare up as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. His version of the infamous killer clown is far different from what came before. This Pennywise is from the get go, a monster and definitely otherworldly. While the Tim Curry interpretation was much more bombastic and chewing scenery, Skarsgard is vicious. He still cracks (very dark) jokes but is much more silent and more like a predatory waiting to catch its prey. He’s not in the film all that much, Pennywise is a shapeshifter, but he does make the most of his screen time.

The Losers ClubThe true heart of the film lies within the kids aka The Losers Club. Bill, Mike, Stanley, Beverly, Ben, Eddie and Richie make up the group of outcasts who have to come together to stop this evil that lies within their city. The standouts for me are Beverly, Ben, Eddie and Richie. Beverly is the only girl in the group who has to deal with her own monstrous home life. Eddie and Richie provide the comic relief as the former is something of a hypochondriac while the latter is the jokester of the group. Ben is the chubby new kid and that is what I was as a kid. The other three do fine in their roles but these four were my favorites. The best part about all of them is that they behave like children. They swear like children do as in they just swear to swear. If there is one weakness is that some of the kids, Mike and Stan, don’t really get much to do.

One of my favorite aspects of the film was the sound design. In any sort of horror movie or thriller, sound design plays an integral role. Whenever Pennywise enters the scene, he is always accompanied by a haunting tune. Since you have to pay attention to a lot of background material as well, it makes you wanna go back and watch the movie again to hear things you may not have heard the first time. Since the movie is set in the 80’s, it would have been easy to lace the film with an 80’s soundtrack. The filmmakers go a better route and only really include one notable 80’s act and it’s more of a running joke than anything.

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Andy Muschetti was a perfect choice to direct this film. You can tell that he wanted to stay true to the source material but also know that he was adapting it to film and thus had to make changes to better fit a film narrative. For a movie that is two hours and fifteen minutes, I hardly felt it. In fact, as soon as I realized that the third act was starting I was genuinely surprised. Once the movie was done, I wish that we could have spent more time with the cast and got to learn more about the characters. Even though there is an inevitable sequel on the way, this film does work on its own as a complete film while leaving just enough out there to hint towards the future. Not sure if this is the best Stephen King adaptation I have seen but it is certainly one of them.

SCORE: 9/10

Why I’m Exicted About “It” (2017)

There is no hiding that when I was a little kid, I used to be afraid of watching 1990’s “It” miniseries. Something about Tim Curry’s portrayal always stuck with me. But as time went on, that fear slowly subsided and I saw the miniseries for what it was. Frankly it’s kind of bad. Other than the performances by Curry and the child actors, there’s nothing really great about it. Some of it has to do with the time and age it was produced and others have to do with it being a basic television miniseries. The book is firmly a mature read as it is full of violence and mature themes. It would have to be due to being about basically a killer clown.

So news came about the movie being in development and it has been in development for years. I honestly didn’t think that the film was going to be produced at that point. But finally Mama director, Andy Muschetti signed on and the ball just kept rolling on from there. Now about a year and a half later, the film is about to be released and anticipation is high for the movie. In fact it is very high especially for a horror movie.

Many I know were hesitant because it was a “remake” despite not being anything of the sort. I can’t believe how many people I had to remind that the television miniseries from the 90’s was just that. Sure I know that home releases edited the two together to make it seem like a four hour movie but people really insisted that it came out in theaters. But now the people who are very much “anti” remakes/reboots are very much on board for this film.

It differentiates itself from the other adaptation by moving the time periods in which the story itself. The adolescent half takes place during the late 1980’s while the all but confirmed sequel will take place during modern times (presumably 2016). The horror aspect which has been increased to match the tone of the books. You will actually get to see Pennywise get to be a monster, killing and dark humor included. There is also characters that were omitted such as Patrick, a member of local bully Henry Bowers, are included in this as his character was way too dark for a 1990’s tv adaptation.

My problem with a lot of horror movies is that they seem to take the cheap and uninteresting take in producing them. Even though this movie does not have the largest budget, it certainly doesn’t have a small budget either. The team behind the film seems to be squeezing out every penny that they can out of their budget to deliver the best product that they can.  When hearing Andy Muschetti promote the film, you can tell that he also wanted to deliver the best. While staying true to the novel, knowing that not everything works on screen as it does print.

The marketing for the film has also been on point. The first trailer for the film never gave clear shot of Pennywise other than little brief glimpses. Then pictures started to pour out and with the second trailer, we actually got to see more of Pennywise but it was still very much limited. Then with the TV spots, we still never see much of Pennywise other than really brief glimpses. The most we ever see of him is from the iconic sewer scene between he and Georgie. The most terrifying one for me was the “Wonder Day” TV spot where it ends on a seriously dark bit of humor that was unexpected. Watch it here:

Though I may have some issues with Warner Bros. and how they are handling the DCEU, I can’t help but tip my hat to them on how they are handling this. It has me both equally terrified and excited to see the movie. I always pre-ordered my ticket for Thursday, just so I can have a great seat to watch it.

Stephen King’s It (2017) Teaser Trailer Relased

This movie looks terrifying. Despite pictures being released of Pennywise, the trailer never really features a lingering shot of the monster clown. This helps build up suspense for when we get an actual reveal. Plus, that slideshow sequence was absolutely terrifying. I am not the biggest horror fan but this movie has me hyped.