Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.

It’s such a surprise that a film like Batman v Superman, announced three years ago and over 3 years in the making, fails to live up to films like Deadpool and Mad Max: Fury Road, movies that took a lot less longer to make and marvelously paid off. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was unfortunately a huge disappointment. The action is at times awesome and the directing is somewhat appreciable, but the movie’s unfocused and confused narrative and story make it a complete mess. Zack Snyder is generally a fantastic director, as he has put some incredible scenery to film with movies like WatchmenMan of Steel and 300. Here, he decides to put his style over any substance, especially in the first half, where the movie feels empty and overdone. The first act constantly flashes through scenes without connection to the rest, and often confuses with its many conflicts and minimal substance. Ben Affleck managed to deliver as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The rage within him felt so real, and he also rocked as a badass caped crusader. Henry Cavill wasn’t anything special in his returning role of Superman, and Amy Adams wasn’t any good, either. Jeremy Irons was great as Alfred and definitely delivered. Gal Gadot worked as a badass Wonder Woman, who has some great action scenes with Batman and Superman. Jesse Eisenberg did not work for me as Lex Luthor. He wasn’t miscast, but he was too over-the-top at times and was hard to stand. Lawrence Fisburne felt shoehorned into the cast for the sake of reprising his role, but unfortunately does not feel relevant here.

It’s hard to believe that with such high expectations for so long, the only thing about this movie that impressed me were the action scenes. The plot takes too long to become interesting, and by the time it does, it all feels so familiar and emotionally flat. The first act is filled up by a bunch of scenes that hardly connect, and never stick with you. There are always these conversations about the hero the world needs, and how corrupt power can be, and although the messages Snyder tried to convey through dialogue could have been interesting, they instead end up repeating themselves too often. The first act also requires a lot of patience, as it brings in a huge plot line about capturing terrorists without getting to what we actually want to see, Batman and Superman knocking each other out, until later. The movie is shot very well, and the score from Hans Zimmer is phenomenal. The action is pretty awesome, so if you want to go see this movie just for the action, then you should, but be aware that the good action doesn’t start until about an hour through the movie. The excitement rises to a high level at the third act, but either way, by then there is nothing unpredictable or emotionally powerful that happens. The movie often gets too caught up in trying to set up the rest of its movies that it forgets to bring a good story within its own film. Almost every moment in this movie involving superheroes feels so focused on teasing something that is yet to come, and at a point towards the end does that get very frustrating. There is much to appreciate about Zack Snyder’s directing in the film, but it often does not work in some scenes, especially the movie’s introduction. There is nothing in this movie that is worth going to the theaters to see that hasn’t already been given away by the trailers, unfortunately. I really wish we would have gotten a solo Batman film starring Ben Affleck and Jeremy Irons this time around, as that would have been a much more awesome and less complicated film to have released in the new age of DC.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a huge disappointment, with no interesting story or messages within, but has some great visuals, score, and action. If you want to go see this film for some epic action toward the end, then you should go see it, but I was one of the people looking for an amazing underlying message within the movie, and instead I got a dull philosophy lesson followed by an enormous gladiator fight. It is so busy setting up the next films in its franchise that it ultimately did not fill my expectations with what I wanted from the two most iconic superheroes in America finally on screen together.

The two titular heroes, Batman and Superman, are confronting each other, with the film's logo behind them, and the film's title, credits, release date and billing below.

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10 Cloverfield Lane

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10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie nobody had any idea existed until two months ago, when the trailer was released and the movie was no longer kept a secret. The trailers (whose very secretive style comes from producer J.J. Abrams) did not reveal anything about the story but still intrigued me. It was only referred to as a “spiritual successor” to Cloverfield, and never a sequel. We never knew what to expect, and with such an incredible style of marketing, 10 Cloverfield Lane ultimately did not let me down. The thrilling plot buildup always kept me on the very edge of my seat, thanks to spectacular cinematography and directing from first-time feature-length director Dan Trachtenberg. The movie almost felt like a mystery, but much more like a thriller with lots of twists and suspense that kept my eyes on the screen. The cast is outstanding, with a great leading role played by Scott Pilgirm vs. the World‘s Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She conveys her character very realistically, and felt like a terrific protagonist. John Goodman is fantastic in his role as a man who may or may not be a psychopath, and John Gallagher Jr. is also very good in the one other role in the film. There is also a voice cameo in the film that I was not able to catch, but I was informed by the credits, so stay on the lookout for a familiar voice toward the beginning of the movie.

The movie pulled me in from the very moment it started, and I was always guessing how the movie would turn out to be, as many pot points turn out to not be what they seem. The reason I did not mention the plot in the beginning of this review is because it is best to walk into this film without any expectations at all, like I did. The movie’s trailer tells you nothing about the movie’s plot, and I had no idea what the film was actually about. The trailers don’t give you anything about the story, and only teases a few scenes from the movie. I was glad I knew nothing about how the movie would play out or even the basic plot, because part of the great experience sitting through this movie was the suspense and the feeling of oblivion throughout. The movie’s genre and story-line is nothing like Cloverfield‘s, so don’t walk in expecting another found footage film filled with destruction and monster madness. This movie is a claustrophobic thriller with a cast about as large as Gravity‘s, and it’s a much better film as well. My one issue with the movie is that the ending could have been handled a bit better, as it feels like a mystery that can only have two outcomes, and it ends in the one way I was really hoping it wouldn’t. I feel it ended that way for fans’ sake, but it may have been a better film with the other outcome. I did not hate the ending though, it was enjoyable (but also rushed), and leaves a few loose ends for you to guess for yourself. I am so glad I had the opportunity to watch a film like 10 Cloverfield Lane in theaters, it’s definitely worth a watch if you are a fan of thrillers, and want a movie to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Zootopia

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In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

Disney strikes again with Zootopia, a buddy cop comedy, a political crime thriller, an urban mystery, and everything else you would not expect from a movie of its kind. Zootopia reminds us why animated movies are made. The clever humor, fantastic cast, and thoughtful messages make this Disney’s best animated feature since Wreck-It Ralph. I honestly did not expect this much from the movie, especially since the marketing didn’t make it look like anything great. Instead, I got a very smart, mature, and insightful animated tale that families can enjoy, and I even feel that adults would enjoy and understand this movie more than kids. It has tons of references, jokes, and concepts that adults would especially understand and take in. But it does still have a good touch that kids will enjoy as well, including promoting tolerance and teamwork and has a fast pace and great humor for younger audiences, including a hilarious scene with a DMV office run entirely by sloths. The animation is also splendid, with very vivid settings, colors, and tons of different mammal species.

Ginnifer Goodwin is great in the strong lead role: a bunny who aspires to be more than she is, and to make a difference. Her character is easy to sympathize with, and is put down by many peers but always tries harder. Although this aspect of her character at first seems very cliched, it becomes unique once the big message kicks in. Goodwin’s voice performance was very charming, and she was able to carry the movie along very well. Jason Bateman was the perfect choice to play con artist-turned sidekick fox Nick Wilde, as he fantastically delivers Wilde’s charm, sneakiness, and heart. Idris Elba was also perfectly casted as the angry police chief Bogo, who steals every one of his scenes in possibly my favorite performance in this film. It’s no surprise that J.K. Simmons is also great, voicing a lion who is also the mayor of Zootopia. The overall message of the movie very well relates to our modern society, and how politics can shape the way our community lives through fear. The movie discourages things like racism and drugs, and ultimately delivers a great moral about tolerance and being whatever you aspire. However, the first ten minutes of the movie are very unnecessary, and the movie falls flat for a couple of minutes in between the second and third acts. But overall, Zootopia is still an awesome animated movie that, like its protagonists, dares and succeeds to be much more than it is. One of Disney’s best recent features (excluding Star Wars), this one is definitely recommended for the entire family to go see and enjoy.

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