Super Cast Brings Justice To This Franchise:

Justice League

 

What!?  Another super hero movie back in the theaters when we just had Thor?  Competition in the industries leads to many hasty decisions and this one was all about competing with Disney to bring in revenue and stop the juggernaut from ruling the theaters.  DC’s answer to the Marvel success, whipping out Justice League to smash the box office in what is hope to be a redeeming film.  Will this culmination bring us the film we’ve been dreaming of from the DC universe, or will it be another pale attempt to copy Marvel!  Robbie K back to bring you yet another review on the silver screen saga.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

 

Casting:  A movie relies heavily on a cast, especially finding those worthy of holding the mantle of our iconic heroes.  Justice League’s director gets an A+ from me for the cavalcade of talent crammed into the new super team.  While Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill are still not the best fillers for their roles compared to others, they did well in their involvement in the film to warrant applause.  Gal Gadot reprises her role fantastically, bringing everything we loved in her stand-alone film and delivering it in spades to this installment in looks, demeanor, and kick butt fighting.  However the highlights are Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller.  Fisher has the chip on his shoulder, passively destructive role down pat, showing the struggles of new power.  Momoa has that brashness/arrogance of a rogue who feels he is above the rules, who soon begins to understand the limits of the lone wolf.  However, Miller was spot on for the role of The Flash, capturing all the charisma, comedy, and nerdism I’ve enjoyed with the modern telling of the fast hero.  The cast works so well together, bringing the roles to life in a very entertaining manner that feels like the League of the past on Cartoon Network.

 

The Comedy:  The hero movies are starting to shift from adventure to comedy genre for me, and Justice League took a major turn down this avenue.  Much of the writing is well-timed, comedic goal, utilizing well-timed cursing, witty sarcasm, and a sharp edge banter that many love, especially when the characters fence with their insults. Of course, the Flash, has a major hand in the laughs, his geeky, naïve admiration of the heroes laying the groundwork for other comedic devices that involve both physical and mental qualities, seriously his face is hilarious.  With this comedy laid out throughout the movie, one will find it hard not to chuckle quite a few times in the movie.

 

The Action:  If you’ve read my reviews on previous DC movies, you know that the action is often weak for me when comparing to Marvel’s masterpieces.  Happily, the comic book battles that hooked us from the comics have finally started arriving.  Justice League, much like Thor, have a number of exciting moments that act as stepping stones to the excitement at hand.  Much of these brief stints are more entertaining than some of Marvel’s skirmishes, able to grab the serious tone of DC and deliver a darker fight to ensnare us.  The semi-diverse fights bring out the technology bangs, and really deliver an action-packed punch that much of this universe has lacked. Finally, this studio is getting things right.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Shallow Story/Characters:  There is a reason Marvel divided their universe into multiple, single character focused stories, in that it builds up the characters for one to latch onto.  With their failing enterprise, DC skipped a lot of steps to go directly to the group movie and as a result the character development is lacking.  Enough ground work has been laid to get the gist, but Justice League has too many story elements in it to give that satisfying feeling of accomplished storytelling.  With little mystery, buildup, and sometimes even challenge, this film’s adventure is a little rushed for this reviewer, culminating into a rather bleak, predictable mess.

 

Snyder-Vision:  The slow moving special effects were great so long ago, and still have an emotional bite to them that really maximizes the kill.  Yet Snyder can’t seem to listen to the audience members/critics, or is rebelling because he won’t stop overusing it.  Justice League continues the trend of utilizing the tactic for nearly every exciting scene, sometimes in good taste, and often in more egotistical, eye-rolling displays of drawn out cinema.  Hope you like seeing every detail at half speed, because you are going to have your fill.

 

The final battle:  After all the preparation, all the little battles to tease you, one hopes for that defining climax that really puts the battle over the top.  Justice League dropped the ball on this for me, not in terms of being lame (like Suicide Squad), but instead not being much different from the trailers.  This final battle has had much spoiled in the advertising, and rather than building upon it, like the Avengers, the movie held little flare outside of the battle with the Steppenwolf. That gigantic army you saw in the trailers… doesn’t really do much, which was so disappointing with all the hype they placed.  It was a good start DC, now finish with that bang we all want to see.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

If you read other reviews, you’ll see this movie was panned, but this critic found much to enjoy in this movie.  It’s fun, funny, and a rather good introduction to future team movies with an incredible cast to boot.  Sure, it still has some rough story patches, and they haven’t quite understood the execution of a good finale (or the balanced use of slow-motion).  Still, it’s the best movie of the DC universe for me overall, and a good comic book movie to boot.  Naturally, I’ll recommend this for the theater, and implore you to enjoy the comedic ride and chaotic action at hand in what will hope be a starting point to the next wave of DC movies. 

 

My Scores:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy:  8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0

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Quality Sci Fi has Arrived

arrival

            Science fiction is a genre that gets a bad rap by many often because it is mixed in with science fiction/fantasy (e.g. Star Wars, Star Trek, and etc.). However, there are occasions where, if you give the series a chance, you’ll find a film that is a work of art.  Tonight, a few friends and I checked out Arrival to see what all the hype was about.  Is this movie truly worthy of the praise, or is it just overhyped advertisements?  You know the drill, read on to find out…please.

 

LIKES:

  • Strong acting chemistry
  • Awesome Science Fiction story
  • What a twist

 

You want to make a strong movie; you need strong cast to act the tale out.  Arrival has all that and a bag of chips with the crew assembled for this movie. Amy Adams leads with a stellar, or interstellar, performance that was one of her strongest performances in a long time. She played scientific and emotional, crafting a character that was very admirable to watch as she worked to decipher the alien language. Jeremy Renner plays the supporting scientist, whose expertise adds another dynamic to the mix to not only provide some clues, but also a potential friendship to Adams life.  The two together feel like a scientific team striving to help the world, and their chemistry mixes well that you would expect of the lead actors. In regards to Forest Whitaker, his military colonel performance is strong, rugged, and a bit suspenseful to help add some antagonism that also fits well with his costars.

But the acting isn’t the only thing you are looking for in a Sci Fi movie right?  You want a good story that blends reality with some advanced science concepts, right?  Good news, Arrival delivers on this aspect crafting a fairly realistic tale that is believable and not loaded down with special effect explosions.  The tale has mystery behind it, which will hook you into the film and carry you for the ride as one tries to figure out the aliens’ purpose. An added suspense is brought in by the time constraints placed by our overzealous military humans who strive to attack if a message cannot be conveyed.  As for you character developing folks, don’t worry there are plenty of sequences to illuminate the mystery behind our group, helping to add some depth to what would otherwise be a stereotypical role And the twist, well our story writers managed to surprise a number of people with a revolution that was both mind blowing and emotionally satisfying.  I was able to pick out a few “big” reveals, but they paled in comparison to the main revelation in store for you.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Alien Design
  • A few unanswered questions
  • Slow at points

 

   It is really hard to find errors for me in this film, so much of this is simply picky things that really won’t ding the scores.  The first is the alien design.  Our mysterious visitors were not that impressive for me, lacking any threatening features. Without revealing anything, they seemed to be a simplified copy of another creature seen in a movie series a few years ago.  Nevertheless, the things they did were really well animated and cool to watch, and despite not looking impressive were certainly intriguing to watch. Again a small weakness

In addition to all the good things I said about the movie, Arrival is a movie that will warp your mind and keep you asking questions.  Yes, it is a movie you have to pay attention to and will keep you thinking as you try to fathom the plot.  With the constant moving pieces and the multiple stories, you might wonder if they cover everything.  And for the most part they do as our writers make sure the film comes together in the end to deliver the messages and punch it has.  Pay attention America and you might just learn something.  Despite everything coming together though, there is one question my mind craved to know (which I can’t reveal) and I have to wonder what the whole point of the visit was when the ending finally came.  Again another small dislike for me.

 In fact, the only dislike that I may have to dock off is the pace of the movie.  Arrival isn’t the fastest moving film, and there are times where the movie seems to unnecessarily drag at times.  The movie sometimes dives a little too deep into the details (e.g. traveling to the ship, traveling the ship’s hallways, or seeing some of the character developing scenes). While these moments certainly bring the setting to life, the repeated scenes and extra details may not have been as necessary as they thoughtWhen the ending wraps up nicely though, these extra details feel welcome.

 

THE VERDICT:

I got to hand it to Arrival for delivering on the promises the trailers built up. The film is a true science fiction masterpiece that is intriguing, thought provoking, and suspenseful in one package. Those who aren’t big fans of alien films ought to give this one a whirl not only to have a good mystery, but also for the emotional backstory of our lead character.  Despite the slow pace of the film, our team brought a fantastic story together, one that I hope will be recognized for the intelligence behind it.  And if you are looking for a good twist, well get ready to have your mind blown.  Small weaknesses aside, this movie is definitely worth a trip to the theater for many people.

 

My scores:

Drama/Mystery/Sci Fi:  9.5

Movie Overall: 9