Jump to content

Beginning on August 1, 2017 all free accounts will have the same avatar size as all paid accounts. This means you will be able to upload larger avatars on that day if you have a free account and this will no longer be a paid perk.

Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    27
  • comments
    24
  • views
    4,379

About this blog

Rants, Reviews, (w)Riting and a Surprisingly Passionate Hatred of MoS

Entries in this blog

rukaio101

So, Captain America: Civil War. The second movie about dueling superheroes this year. Or, as it's likely soon to be known, "the one that actually did it well."

 

102597285-Batman-vs-Superman.530x298.jpe

"What? You thought you were going to have to wait before I started shitting on BvS? You don't know me very well, do you?"

 

Okay, now I've got that customary (and entirely deserved) jab at BvS out of the way, let's talk how I felt about this movie. I'll try and avoid raving about the stuff everyone else has already mentioned (the airport scene, Spider-Man, the airport scene, Black Panther, the good development for characters like SW and Vision, the fucking airport scene holy shit that was good) and talk about some of the less appreciated stuff I can analyse in more detail. Be warned that I'll be going pretty heavily into spoilers for this. So if you haven't seen the movie yet, go out and watch it. It's very good. Got it? Okay, let's get started.

 

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

SPOILER WARNING

 

Out of all the standalone Marvel movies released so far, my favourites have easily been the two Captain America movies. Despite admittedly slipping a little in their third acts, they did an utterly outstanding job developing a character who I'd probably call one of the most difficult superheroes to write for. They managed to craft a fantastic persona for Steve Rogers while still keeping to the spirit of the comics (and, in some cases, surpassing them). So I was interested to see whether they'd be able to go three for three in creating great CA movies and possibly topple Nolan's Batman as my favourite Superhero trilogy. And the result was... yes and no. Yes, in that it's a fantastic movie. No, in that, despite the title, I can't really call it a Captain America movie. It is Avengers 2.5. I can understand the confusion because it's a different type of Avengers movie than Whedon's entries, but it is an Avengers movie. Whedon tried to balance screentime and story evenly between all of the Avengers, which worked fantastically for the first film and... not so much for the second (which is why we got shoehorned-in subplots like Thor's cave, just to give him something to do). The Russos, on the other hand, seemed to have decided on the 'Fox X-Men' method for this movie. Specifically, they chose to focus on a couple of key characters as protagonists, while giving the rest of the ensemble their own smaller moments to make it feel like a team movie. In this case, Cap and Tony both feel more like joint protagonists with their own stories. If this was a Cap movie, Cap would be the protagonist and Tony the antagonist, like I originally assumed they were going to go with (and no, antagonist does not automatically mean 'villain'). But that's not the case. As such, we don't really get as much exploration into Cap and the themes and ideas surrounding him specifically as we would if he were the sole protagonist. There are bits here and there, but not as much I was expecting. So, as a Captain America movie, it's a little disappointing.

 

With that said, as an Avengers movie, it's fucking fantastic. Despite AOU's best efforts, this the real 'Empire Strikes Back' of Marvel Movies. Darker, bleaker, willing to develop its characters more and add new dimensions to their interactions but, unlike BvS, this movie actually knows how to pull said dark moments off and make them feel satisfying. Plus it has a very bittersweet, bordering full-on downer ending. It may not be as direct a cliffhanger as Han being frozen in carbonite, but ends with a lot of characters in a dark place, emotionally or literally. Speaking of, despite the added focus on Cap and Tony, none of the team feels massively neglected (although some added Hawkeye and Ant-Man earlier on would've been nice). Plus SW and Vision got some much needed development that AOU really should've provided. Honestly, it's the sort of movie where I came out liking pretty much every side character even more than I did before. And that's the sign of a really great team-up movie. 

 

_1457721976.jpg

"Yes. Even Hawkeye. 

 

I will say though, the first act did feel kinda sluggish for me. It took me a while to work out why, but I honestly think it was maybe a little too serious. The main players in Act 1 (Cap, Tony, Winter Soldier, Black Panther) are all largely serious and brooding thoughout, since Tony had his wisecracking cut down (which completely works for the guilt-ridden mood his character is in through most of the movie). And while there's nothing inherently wrong with being serious and brooding, and this movie avoids the trap BvS fell into by actually having the characters and debates be complex, well-written and interesting, it did start to wear thin on me after a while. The more consistent comic-reliefs (like Ant-Man, Hawkeye or Spider-Man) aren't introduced until around halfway through and I don't think it was a coincidence that the movie seriously picked up around then.

 

Speaking of serious and brooding, I also think another problem I had with Act 1 here is the heavy focus on Bucky/Winter Soldier, whose subplot was easily probably the weakest because the character himself isn't really all that compelling. He kinda worked as the silent, unstoppable muscle in TWS, but as a heroic character, he's fairly bland and uninteresting. That said, despite what I've heard others complain, Sebastian Stan is not a bad actor. If there's anything I got from rewatching CA1 before this movie, it's that Stan can be a very charming mofo if he's allowed to be. The problem is that the Winter Soldier's character is a literal emotionless assassin-turned brooding emo loner. And that's difficult for any actor to make charming. Hell, Stan gets to show some his charm towards the end of this movie when he and Cap are working together and banter some. I'd like to see much much more of that sort of Bucky going forward, personally.

 

Civil-War-640x360.jpg

"Either that or give him his own 'Odd Couples' sitcom with Falcon.

 

On the more positive side, despite many others understandably dismissing him as 'typical lousy Marvel villain', I actually really liked Zemo as an antagonist. Admittedly, I didn't like him until the final act where we a) get to learn the full scope/aim of his true plan and b ) he gets that fantastic scene explaining his motivations to Black Panther which both actors blew away (seriously, one of the best character scenes in the entire Marvel movie canon, imo). In the first two acts though, he really did seem like an extra generic Marvel villain. But the second he blindsided me by revealing that he killed the other Winter Soldiers (who were seemingly his entire goal up until then), he began to evolve into something new, interesting and more complex that I only wish we'd been able to see earlier and hope we see more of in later films. Also, while I've been trying to avoid too many BvS comparisons up until now, there's just one scene I really need to compare to show why Zemo really grew on me. It's after the main villain (Luthor for BvS, Zemo for CW) has been incarcerated and is being visited (by Batman for BvS and a severely underutilised Martin Freeman for CW). Luthor goes on this big silly rant that is supposed to seem intimidating but comes off as silly, especially when he ends it by going 'Ding ding ding'. Zemo on the other hand, only says two words in his scene. Martin Freeman taunts him from outside his cell and tells him that he lost. All Zemo says is "Did I?" And God damn did that line speak more than any of Luthor's ramblings. Especially when it's immediately followed by a montage of the remaining Avengers looking largely miserable. Because Zemo did win. He got exactly what he wanted. The Avengers crumbled from within and they it did by their own hands. He created a rift that cannot be fixed easily and the ending of the movie shows it. The bad guy won. How's that for the 'Marvel always plays it safe story-wise' crowd?

 

Speaking of, despite the airport battle being unambiguously the best action set piece of the movie, I was surprised by how much I liked the actual final Siberia battle. I'd heard people say it was a bit of letdown after the airport but, for me, it was the perfect companion piece and contrasted it perfectly. To elaborate, in my opinion, the airport battle embodied the 'fun' side of superhero vs superhero conflicts. All the characters got to let loose and bounce off each other, ability-wise, in interesting ways. There was a lot of joking and carnage and, while there certainly were stakes at hand, it definitely felt like there was an air of fun pervading the whole thing. The Siberia battle, on the other hand, embodied the 'serious' side of superhero conflicts. Anger and emotions run high. There are no witty one-liners. It is brutal and bloody for each side involved and comes from not just one movie, but an entire cinematic universe's worth of build-up of emotion on each side. There is no misunderstanding they can solve. There is no magic 'Martha' quick fix to make them drop their grudges. There isn't even a common enemy to force them together. It's just Cap, Bucky and Tony fighting until the other side simply can't get up any more. It's personal and dark in a way that the airport battle wasn't and in a way BvS wishes it could've been. And the contrast between the tones of the airport battle and the Siberia battle manage to emphasis and improve them both. I've always been on the opinion that darkness works best when you have light to balance it out and I think this movie showed that really very well with these two fights.

 

Okay, I think that's most of the more major stuff I wanted to talk about and probably a good time to start tapering off. I do have a list of the smaller little stuff wanted to mention.

 

  • Peggy Carter's funeral hit me with all the feels. It says something about how great a character Peggy was that Sharon managed to become a more interesting character solely through her relation to her aunt. Speaking of, if God ever smiles down upon me enough to renew Agent Carter, I want an entire season of Peggy just being a badass Aunt to kid Sharon.
  • Speaking of Sharon, she kinda disappeared halfway through the movie, didn't she? Sure there was enough going on elsewhere that I didn't miss her, but it felt a bit weird considering how much she was in the first half.
  • Also the Sharon/Steve kiss didn't feel nearly as icky as I feared it would be, considering the... 'implications' of that relationship normally. I think a large part of it is that they developed their relationship before Steve found out she was related to Peggy and it really doesn't feel the two are only interested in each other because of Peggy. They're just two grown adults engaging in a romantic gesture, who happen to share an important figure in their lives.
  • I liked the little character moments between T'Challa and Black Widow. The two only had a few scenes, but they had surprisingly good chemistry.
  • I also liked that the Widow/Bruce relationship was barely brought up. And I would be perfectly happy if it never got brought up again.
  • I wasn't actually all that fussed about Martin Freeman being underutilised, if only because it really feels like he's being saved for something in a later film. Also, I found his attempted American accent hilarious. 
  • I was kinda irritated that they killed off Crossbones though. He seemed like he'd make an interesting recurring villain. That said, did we ever find out who he was trying to sell that infectious disease thing to? 
  • Falcon's new bulletproof wingsuit is awesome.
  • Despite my dig at him earlier, Hawkeye continues to be the most underrated Avenger, character-wise.
  • Spider-Man was handled pretty much like Wonder Woman should've been in BvS. He didn't feel like a glorified cameo nor a shoe-horned trailer for his own movie. He helped add to the movie, both by helping Tony develop and, like Ant-Man, by bringing some much needed levity to the airport fight. Also actually having some kind of personality helped.
  • If you're complaining about all the BvS comparisons I've made so far, believe me when I say that compared to all the comparisons I could've made, this is pigeon feed. There's a fairly high number of similarities between the two, if you really look. Not to say either is ripping off the other (despite my point below joking about it), just that there are a lot of points to compare. Of course, I avoided most of those because they would inevitably cause me to go on another rant about how incompetent BvS was and, considering I've already written a 5 part blog series on that, I don't need that distraction again.
  • Really though, at this point, I can't help but feel Marvel is deliberately trying to show up DC by doing everything the latter does but actually doing it well. DC releases a movie attempting a darker taker on a commonly light, idealistic character and creates one of the most divisive SH movies ever. One year later, Marvel does the same with Winter Soldier and it's one of their most acclaimed films. DC attempts to build a reputation for telling 'dark, serious' stories. Marvel releases several dark-as-hell Netflix series to massive acclaim. DC attempts to have two of its biggest heroes in an epic fight and, well, you know the rest. I almost feel sorry for them. Then I remember that Snyder is still doing Justice League and all pity washes away like tears in the rain...

 

So yeah, to sum up, it was a very good movie. Maybe not the Captain America sequel I would've liked, but still a very strong movie in its own right. Admittedly, I'm not entirely certain whether the Russo's will be able to pull off Infinity Wars (since an epic space saga is a lot different from what we've seen in TWS and CW), but after this I feel confident they have a good chance. Unlike a certain other director helming a certain other superhero movie.

 

tatum14f-1-web.jpg

"What? Rupert Wyatt was a poor choice. Who did you think I was talking about?"

 

 

rukaio101

All right, we're finally here. At the final part of this movie. It's taken probably more time and effort than it was worth, but it's been a fun ride. Significantly more fun that the movie itself, ironically.

 

Speaking of 'more fun', I watched the Supergirl/Flash crossover episode 'World's Finest' last night and loved it. Supergirl and the Flash are both series with a lot of ups and downs for me, but they absolutely owned that episode. It's not surprising I've heard so many people describe it as the superior crossover to BvS. And I agree. Not because it's light and fun, although that certainly helped, but because the writers knew where the focus had to be. The characters. Kara and Barry feel like fully rounded 3-dimensional characters with different lives, motivations and quirks and watching those two worlds collide and work off each other (or more specifically go out to get donuts) is just a joy to watch. The actual story of the episode is practically second nature in comparison (and probably the weakest part of the episode).

 

But watching that episode last night made me realise there are more comparisons between it and BvS than simply 'two superheroes' team up. Specifically, Kara's main dilemma in the episode does kinda mirrors Superman's in BvS and comparing the two makes me understand even more why Superman's character simply doesn't work in this movie. Mild spoilers for Supergirl here, but effectively, in a previous episode, Kara was exposed to Red Kryptonite which temporarily turned her evil. Her actions during that episode ended up turning the people of her city against her, which carried over to this episode. In BvS, Superman faces a similar problem with people turning against or being unsupportive/skeptical of his actions. That's effectively his main dilemma for 2/3rds of the movie. So the two characters have largely the same problem. However, the key thing is in the difference between their actions. In 'World's Finest', Supergirl is doing her utmost to try and win back the support of her city. She's working extra hard to be helpful, even going so far as to do simple tasks like helping a family assemble an IKEA table. Which leads me to ask this simple question of BvS.

 

What does Superman do to try and fix his problem?

 

And the answer is nothing. Superman does nothing to try and fix his unpopularity problem except mope and hope it magically fixes itself. He doesn't try harder to save people, he doesn't go out of his way to try and win them over, he doesn't listen to their complaints, he doesn't try to justify himself. He does nothing. And then acts mystified that people aren't falling over themselves to praise him. Hell, he considers quitting rather than do any of that. Eventually, the only thing he does do to try and fix things is go to that Courtroom hearing, a decision that the movie treats as some sort of big choice/sacrifice when it really should've been basic common sense and the first fucking thing he should've tried. If you wanted a dilemma for Superman to ponder for that part of the movie, make it 'What should I say at that Courtroom Hearing to defend my actions?' not 'Should I bother going or just mope/quit because people don't like me?' And that's why I can't find the Superman in this movie in any way sympathetic or likeable. A sympathetic/likeable character is proactive and takes steps to fix their problems, not just mope around for the entire movie wondering why it doesn't fix itself. Those steps don't necessarily have to work (indeed, in World's Finest, Kara's going-overboard heroism is implied to lead her to charge headfirst into a dangerous situation without a plan in an attempt to prove herself) but they have to at least try. This Superman doesn't. And that's partly why this is such a terrible interpretation of the character.

 

But enough about superior comic adaptations. We've got one last piece of this crap left to digest and I'll be damned if I'm going to let it get off light. Here are the previous parts for those who've missed them.

 

 

 

 

And here we go...

 

--

--

--

--

--

--

Spoiler Warning (duh)

 

Now, for those who forgot where we were in the movie, Batman has just shown his renewed faith in hope and justice by murdering several thugs. Supes, meanwhile, is flying over to the Kryptonian spaceship where Lex is attempting to create Doomsday. Lex gets pissed that his convoluted, nonsensical plan somehow failed and decides to use Doomsday (who's already almost completed) to finish the job, as if that had never really been part of the plan. I know I asked this last part, Lex, but what were you going to do with the mindless rage monster if Superman had died? Anyway, rather than rip out any of the suspicious machinery that is obviously doing something terrible, Supes is fine with waiting until Doomsday is completed to act. So Doomsday is born. And we get to start what is, admittedly... the best fight in the movie.

 

Seriously, I actually did really enjoy this fight. I mean, sure it doesn't really get going until WW turns up and it feels too short by far, but it's still Superhumans going at each other at full force in live action (with the camera actually staying fairly steady, unlike MoS.) Plus it starts with probably the best and/or only good Superman moment in the movie as he leaps into action to save Lex from Doomsday's first strike. It's a very small moment, practically blink and you'll miss it, but it does more to characterise and humanise Superman and make him feel likeable than almost any moment in either this movie or MoS. Jumping in without hesitation to defend the man who minutes ago tried to kill your mother... it says so much about a character without saying a word. It's a great moment and a perfect example of showing over telling. If the rest of the movie had moments like that, I would probably not be writing this review.

 

Anyway, Supes punches Doomsday into orbit. Meanwhile, the military, having felt left out in this movie after invading all of MoS's action scenes, decides to launch a nuke at the two. Why? Because The Dark Knight Returns did it. Also military porn. Kinda worries me though that the military were so quick to jump to a nuke despite barely knowing that much about the situation. Didn't even test the waters with a few regular missiles first, to see if that would've done anything to Doomsday. At least in Avengers, when the nuke was launched, it was clear that New York was being quickly overrun and it was considered a crossing of the threshold (that several characters outright disagreed with). Here it's just a casual 'That thing is giving Superman a bit of trouble. Let's nuke them both'. Anyway, unsurprisingly, it doesn't work, although it hurts Superman enough to give him that grey face that, again, The Dark Knight Returns already did. But ultimately, the scene is utterly pointless as usual.

 

6Hexf.jpg

"At this point, I'm surprised Frank Miller didn't receive a writing credit. Maybe he can be fourth billed after the Anthropomorphised Concept of Despair and Misery."

 

Doomsday, meanwhile, plummets down to Earth to Stryker's Island which, the military are polite enough to tell us, is uninhabited. We get several lines in this movie telling us these places are empty of people, obviously in an attempt to curb criticism from MoS about collateral damage. However, all this does is further prove that Zack Snyder doesn't understand the collateral damage criticisms in MoS. Sorry to go off on a brief MoS tangent, especially on this well-trodden topic, but the problem with that movie wasn't that 'Lots of people died'. Lots of people died in the Avengers and that was fine. No, the problem was that the characters in MoS never seemed to care that lots of people died. The climax to that movie was like 9/11 x 100, with thousands, if not millions dead. Yet we never get so much as even a shot of Clark looking sad at all the devastation. He never seems to recognise the mass death and destruction around him or, if he does, doesn't seem bothered about it. Unlike the Avengers, he never goes out of his way to help people or limit damage, before or after the fight starts. He takes the time to snog his girlfriend while buildings (probably with people still in them) are crumbling behind him. That was the problem with the climax to MoS and why so many people called Clark a terrible hero. And while removing all the people from the area in BvS is certainly one way to address that, it still doesn't fix the core problem there.

 

Personally, I'd much rather they still have to deal with civilians but put make them have to put thought and effort into keeping them from Doomsday's path. Make them actually go out of their way to be heroes. Most of the major acts of heroism from our Superheroes in this movie feel like afterthoughts, mainly there because they're supposed to be 'heroes' and rarely requiring that much effort or sacrifice from them. In the Avengers, Cap takes a Chitauri grenade blast trying to help civilians and still fights on. That's heroic. Smashing through buildings just because you know people aren't there isn't. It isn't villainous either, mind, but it's hardly heroic. Hell, you can have Batman do Cap's job and go help people while Supes and Wondy keep Doomsday busy. Let's face it, he has nothing else to really do in this finale. He shoots ineffectually at Doomsday in the Batwing for a minute and hits him with one Kryptonite bomb. That's it.

 

Batman-V-Superman-Doomsday1.jpg

"Maybe his mother was named Martha as well."

 

Speaking of Wondy, she shows up to save Batman in probably one of the coolest moments in the film. Theme blaring, posed and ready for action, I'd mirror the consent that she's one of the best things in the entire movie. Funnily enough, before I saw the film, I made comments on the trailer that I was worried about her portrayal in this movie. Specifically, I was worried that she'd merely be shoehorned into the final battle for the sake of a glorifed cameo, that she wouldn't be set up properly earlier in the movie or given proper characterisation and that she'd basically be part of Zack Snyder's brand of feminism (aka looking 'powerful' and 'badass' despite actually having all the character depth of a lamp.) And... I was pretty much right on all accounts. But damn it, compared to how everything in this movie turned out, I will take merely looking strong and badass and barely in the movie over what happens when Zack Snyder actually tries to create a deep character. It helps that, even in her short runtime, she gets a couple of really good small little character moments. First is when she angrily asks Batman why he lured Doomsday back to the city. In that one line, she shows more unspoken concern for innocents caught in the crossfire than anyone else in this entire movie. Second was when Doomsday hit her and she just gives this delightful bloodthirsty grin. Two small moments and she receives more characterisation than almost 2 hours of Superman moping.

 

That said, it all doesn't really change the fact that that she's still fairly pointless in this movie. Seriously, she could be removed from this film entirely with no trouble whatsoever and, indeed, her removal would make more sense since it removes the plothole of 'Why doesn't Superman give her the Kryptonite spear?' Not saying I think she should've been removed, like I said, she's one of the best things in the film, but it still stands true. However, if I can play 'fix fic' for a little, here's a suggestion. I mentioned back in Part 2 that stuff about the Gordian Knot and Sword of Alexandria and how I momentarily thought it might've been foreshadowing that WW would solve the conflict between Batman and Superman. I was wrong, obviously, but what if they'd actually done that? Made Wonder Woman be the one to help Bats and Supes make peace rather than the glorified coincidence of 'Martha'. Not in a condescending 'Oh you silly boys, stop fighting' way or simply by magically solving their grudges, but just by getting them to sit down and talk to each other in a diplomatic way. After all, isn't Diana supposed to be a diplomat? Hell, we could make a good character arc out of it. Imagine Diana, sent to the world of Man as a diplomat to make peace with them, only to deal with centuries and centuries of war and strife. Imagine her, at the beginning of the movie, having grown cynical and bitter and depressed at her own inability to change anything. Then, as the movie proceeds, she becomes inspired to pick up her Wonder Woman outfit once more and successfully acts as peacemaker between two of the greatest heroes on Earth, restoring her faith in both herself and mankind. Boom, instant character arc, small enough that it need not have stolen the limelight from the other two heroes, but big enough to make her presence meaningful and make her feel like an interesting character. Wouldn't that have been so much better than what we actually got?

 

6c398beae629f8b4c44e077361cf35c8.jpg

"To be fair, even this would be better than what we actually got."

 

Alas, we must return to the reality of what this movie actually is. Speaking of, our heroes are now attempting to retrieve the Kryptonite spear after Lois flung it into water (apparently under the impression that anyone who might want said weapon probably couldn't swim.) Speaking of, how do they even know the weapon will work on what Doomsday is? I can't remember whether Lex told Supes he was making it from Zod's body, but Bats and Lois certainly haven't had a chance to converse and find out. So how do those two magically know? I'll tell you why. It's because this movie is terrible at bringing together its plotlines and keeping track of who knows what about who. Anyway, Lois goes to retrieve the spear from the dangerous situation that she herself created unnecessarily and nearly drowns. However, she is saved by Superman who is then weakened by Kryptonite and also nearly drowns.

 

Lois drags him out and Supes decides to kill Doomsday at the cost of his own life. Not entirely certain how he and Lois seem to know for certain that he'll die, especially since Doomsday only really ends up getting him with a lucky shot. But then I suppose they wouldn't have had the chance to have an 'emotional' goodbye, albeit with zero chemistry or emotion because their relationship was poorly set up and both are incredibly bland characters. I cared when Peggy was forced to listen to Steve crash the HYDRA plane in Captain America. Because I cared about both of those characters and their relationship. Here I'm just wanting them to cut back to Wonder Woman kicking ass. Also, this is the only time Superman (as Superman) smiles in the movie. I thought 'never smiling' was supposed to be Batman's thing? So much for Supes being the 'light' to his dark. But then again, I'm not surprised. I'd smile too if I was about to escape from this turd.

 

batsups630-q.jpg

"Keep believing, Henry. Maybe they'll make a Man from UNCLE 2."

 

That said, why doesn't Supes just do something sensible like give the spear to Wonder Woman? Yes, I've heard people argue that she was keeping Doomsday still with her lasso, but she could've let him loose for a few seconds. There was no urgent reason Doomsday needed to be contained at that second. Considering how she managed to chop his hand off with a sword without anyone helping her (and now she'd be wielding a weapon made from something he's actively weak too) she could handle it with no problem. I mean, it'd be one thing if Doomsday recognised the Kryptonite and was desperately trying to escape. It'd be another thing if they pulled a MoS and Doomsday would've reached/killed a family if Supes hadn't acted at that moment. But as it is, the only reason Superman has to make that charge is 'because the plot said so'. But I mean, even if you stuck to the excuse that 'Doomsday needed to be restrained first before he could be killed' then why not have Superman restrain him? Have him pull a Goku and hold Doomsday still from behind while urging Wondy or Batman to stab through them both. That way it would definitely actually be a heroic sacrifice, rather than Doomsday getting lucky with a last shot. As it is, the sacrifice just makes no sense.

 

But enough about how Supes's death makes little sense in-universe. Let's talk about how it makes little sense in narrative. Because, really, what did it add to this movie? What would've been so different had Supes survived? Does it make any scenes more prescient or meaningful in hindsight? No. Was it the grand tying together of any kind of major theme of the movie? No. Was it the best and only logical conclusion to a Supes's character arc? No, because the movie could never stick to what the hell Supes's character arc actually was in this movie. It wasn't part of any running theme, it wasn't foreshadowed, built up to, executed well or meaningful. It added nothing and had no purpose except 'the comics did it' and it being a shock move. For a moment like this to work, you need to lay the groundwork, which this movie just did not do. Not that that's really surprising since it couldn't even do the same for the actual main conflict of the movie. How exactly did you expect to have room to build up to The Death of Superman as well?

 

When Zack Snyder talked about this move in interviews he said that he was surprised that very few people guessed it after seeing Doomsday in the trailer. Well, there's a reason for that, Zack. Nobody thought you'd be that stupid! Not just because the movie already (should've) had its hands full with the Batman v Superman story, but because this is only Superman's second movie! And the first movie was an origin story! He only really started to become Superman at the very end of that movie. As such, you've only had barely a third of a movie to do any work at establishing him a superhero (considering the shared narrative with Batman and Lex) and now you've killed him off. After giving him largely nothing to do but mope for the entire movie. Forget the Knightmare or time-travel, the 'Too Soon' Flash should've been referring to was killing Superman!

 

Ben-Affleck-in-Batman-V-Superman-intervi

"Or maybe he was trying to warn Affleck away from the project."

 

My point is though, since we're given almost no room to actually establish Superman growing into his role as a hero before his death, the movie misses out on giving said death actual some weight, meaning and emotion. Because there's no context. The movie certainly talks a lot about what Superman might mean in this world, but it never bothers to show us what he means to this world. And why people would seriously miss him. In fact, it never bothers to show us why we should care about his death, other than 'because he's the protagonist/Superman'. But, as I've mentioned, he's a fairly terrible character here, who rarely has human moments, never really does anything to try and fix his problems other than mope and always looks like he's unhappy to do anything heroic. Why should we care about a character like that? If you want us to feel empathy for a character, you have to work for it, not just assume we'll sympathise regardless. And no, giving Superman a big funeral, putting shots of people with flowers and stealing an otherwise good line from Christopher Wren's tombstone doesn't magically make us sympathetic.* I don't feel the Superman in this movie has earned that mass funeral, those flowers or any of those comments. Not because I think Supes is a murderer or evil or should be shunned after MoS, but because you've never shown us why he should mean that much to these people or to us. The most you did was show a quick montage of Supes saving people while looking miserable, yet we're supposed to believe mass mourners and a world devastated? I'd believe this turn-out for the Superman in the comics or animated series or Donner movies. I'd believe it for Supergirl in her series as well. But I don't buy it here because Snyder, much like the DCCU as a whole, has not done the legwork. Hell, isn't the world still supposed to be turned against Superman? What did he do to suddenly change that? Kill Doomsday? The monster designed and created specifically to kill him? If he'd died saving someone from Doomsday, maybe I'd buy it but as it is, it just doesn't work. 

 

Plus nobody believes for a second it'll be permanent. You're not doing Justice League without Superman and we all know it.

 

Justice-League-Concept-Art-F.jpg

"No, sure guys, they're going to have Cyborg and Aquaman headline the movie."

 

Anyway, big funeral happens for both Supes and Clark (the latter of which is going to make things very awkward when he returns) but, as mentioned, it feels completely unearned. Also, Martha gives Lois an engagement ring (that Clark sent to Martha because... reasons) that showed Clark was going to propose, a plot point that a) came out of nowhere with zero foreshadowing, b ) I don't care about since, as I already explained, I never bought their relationship and c) is so cliche and uninspired a twist I was half expecting Lois to reveal she was pregnant with Clark's unborn child. 

 

Meanwhile, Bruce and Diana are discussing stuff in front of Diana's grave. Bruce, inspired by Clark, explains that he plans to bring together those metahumans from that Justice League teaser to 'help fight against threats like this in the future and-watchjusticeleaguewatchjusticeleaguewatchjusticeleague'. Oh, and before anyone who read the tirade above about Superman's death having no point brings up that 'it inspires Batman to create the Justice League', there were a million valid reasons the writers could've come up with to bring together the Justice League without killing Superman. Hell, if this movie was a little (lot) more focused, it could've been a natural conclusion to Batman's character arc. "I used to think the only way to contain the potential destructive power metahumans had was to destroy them. Now I learnt, with a little effort, I can work with them." As it is, Bats was best buddies with Superman for maybe five minutes before his death so, like everything else in this movie, it's a poorly plotted, poorly motivated mess.

 

Oh, and I can't remember whether this happened before or after the funeral but Lex has been arrested for... one of the many things he did in the movie. Comics Lex would probably have found a way to shift all blame to an employee or scapegoat or something, but, as we've already established, this guy is Lex largely in name and/or peeled off face only. Anyway, Bats turns up and threatens to brand Lex, but ultimately doesn't go through with it. I get the impression this was supposed to be an example of Batman turning over a new leaf and becoming less cruel. The only problem is we already saw him murder several people outright while rescuing Martha after supposedly turning over that new leaf. So that entire character arc runs entirely false because Snyder wanted Batman to be 'cool' and 'edgy'. And that's the closest thing we ever even get to a complete character arc in the movie. 

 

Anyway, Les seems to have gone full Cuckoo for Coco Puffs and was apparently maybe sorta kinda working with Darkseid? Maybe? Either way, it's entirely unforeshadowed and comes out of nowhere and goes against what meagre motive we were supposed to have for Lex. ("Oh yeah, I hate God which is why I hate Superman, but I'm fine with working with the actual God of Apokolips. Basically, as long as God doesn't wear blue spandex, I'm cool.") Anyway, he also teases that more aliens will be coming to Earth and that the bell has been rung and- watchjusticeleaguewatchjusticeleague. Last we see him, he's staring out of his cell going 'Ring ring ring ring." Which just about sums up his character. Supposed to be intimidating. Ends up hilariously stupid.

 

800px-Urine_sample.jpg

"Like a refreshing glass of Granny's Peach Tea."

 

Anyway, final shot of the movie is Clark's coffin six feet under (just like JL's critical chances if Snyder remains) when suddenly, bits of soil begins to rise. Because in a shocking twist, it turns out Superman might not be dead. Whoda thunk it?

 

So yeah, that's the movie. It was bad. Nuff said. Certainly it has more moments I liked than Man of Steel, but honestly, at least that movie had structure. At least that movie had proper scene progression (flashbacks aside). At least that movie didn't spend a third of its running time on a pointless Courtroom subplot that went nowhere. Certainly Man of Steel has the same incompetency with characterisation and themes, but at least I could keep track of everything that was going on in that movie. With this movie I can hardly remember which order dozens of scenes happened in. With this movie, I can outright forget entire scenes yet it has no impact on my ability to recap the plot.** I never thought I'd say this, but I think I found this movie worse than MoS. Maybe. It's a close call.

 

If I had to pick a (non-swear) word to describe this movie though, it would be 'unfocused'. It's never willing to pick a theme or character arc or plot and just sit down and run with it. It doesn't bother to develop any of the admittedly interesting ideas it has, instead content with merely parroting them and pretending that's enough. As such, it simultaneously manages to cram in too much, yet also feel like it has too little. I think it's telling that one of the biggest questions it asked, one that turned up more consistently than others is 'Does this world need a Superman?' And it never answers that question. It never tries to answer that question. It never tries to answer any of its questions. It never tries to bothers to follow through on any of its attempted of its character arcs (aside from the Batman one which, as explained, rang false because flamethrower murder) and ultimately, all the characters in it come off as inconsistent at best and terrible at worst.

 

Which I think is actually the biggest problem in the movie. It's easy to blame the grimness for the movie's problems or the abundance of pointless scenes/plot threads and plot holes. But what fails this movie the most is the characters. You can sometimes muddle through a poor plot if you have compelling characters to follow, since you like them, want to see more of them and care about what happens to them.*** But that's just not the case here. The characters in this movie are mostly terrible. Barely established and given very few moments to feel human or feel like they have a life of their own. They're just there to spout talking points and move the plot forward. Often in ways that don't make sense or actively contradict their apparent motives/character. In a good movie, it's the characters that lead the plot. In this movie, it's the other way round. I've already talked about how convoluted Lex's plot was and how convoluted the motives for the fight were and just how convoluted so much of it was and that's because it never feels realistic for the characters to do these actions. The characters act as excuses for the plot, going or doing whatever the plot needs them to, often with no rhyme or reason. And it's especially noticeable when you compare them to the comic book or animated series versions who are (in a lot of cases) well rounded and given distinct personalities. Not to say the movie should copy those characterisations completely, it's fine to try your own interpretation, as dark or edgy or different as you want. But that interpretation needs to at least be good. Hell, that interpretation needs to at least be something

 

latest?cb=20090728142554

"When even the Adam West Batman feels like a more rounded character, you may have problems."

 

It's difficult to tell exactly who is the most to blame for the flaws in this movie. Certainly, I was fairly certain people were overestimating Terrio long before this came out (since writing one good thriller/drama doesn't automatically mean you'll be great at writing every genre), but I suspect the vast majority of blame should go to Snyder and Goyer, since this movie shares a hell of a lot of the same flaws as MoS. The shoddy characterisation. The overabundance of poorly explored talking points. The lack of any actual real heroism, aside from a token moment or two. I think, if we want Justice League to improve, those two need to go or at least be heavily curbed on the writing of the movie. That said, I would be happy to see Affleck take on more of a significant writing role. I don't think it's a coincidence that his Batman was the closest thing in this movie to an actually good character (who even almost had a character arc). Affleck was reported to have re-written some of his scenes and I think it really does show. If Affleck was reported to be going forward in more of a significant writing role, I think I'd feel a bit more confident about all this.

 

As it is, it's really hard to figure out how to fix the DC Cinematic Universe. This was not the movie you wanted as a jumping off point. The solo movies in the MCU were a solid stone foundation for that universe. This movie, meant to carry the same role, may just be the DCCU's glass jaw instead. It's hard to see how future movies can build off these characters because there's so little character here to build on. I don't think resetting the DCCU entirely is a good move and the other idea I've heard, of making these characters the Justice Lords or Injustice League or evil is just childish and ridiculous. I think the best idea is just to do what you can with what you have. Acknowledge the flaws and try to move past them and learn from them, rather than pasting them over like they weren't there. Ironically, I actually thought that that was what they were originally going to do with this movie, taking the flaws of the overly-destructive MoS climax and using this movie to explore the backlash towards that. I was completely wrong, since the MoS climax only ends up being only a small part of Bats's motivation, Legless Employee is the only (non-faceless crowd member) to show any actual backlash towards Supes for it and the event is barely ever again mentioned for the rest of the movie, let alone explored. But if you do that properly with Justice League, then you have a chance for something good. Have Batman struggle to forge the group, due to whispers of his previous brutality putting off the other members. Have Superman rise from the grave with an understanding and guilt of his previous flaws as a hero and a determination to be something better. Have Lex put on clown make-up and accept the role he was always meant to be. My motto is that a good writer who knows what he's doing can make any story work. And you can make a good story grow from this mess. It'll be difficult, certainly, but it can be done. 

 

So yeah. After all that negativity, after all those problems, I'm going to ultimately end this on a message of hope. A message of incredibly doubtful hope and a hope that would feel probably significantly more confident if Zack Snyder stepped down as director, but hope nonetheless.

 

--

--

--

--

--

--

-- 

 

Phew. And we're finally done. That certainly took longer than I expected. That said, doing this has been a lot of fun (as well as very catharthic). It's always been a passion of mine to explore storytelling in such an indepth analytical way and I'm glad it seems to have gone over fairly well. I may do more of these in the future (although not for a while since I have coursework) so look forward to that. Or don't. 

 

Ultimately though, as a final message, if you enjoy this movie enough to look past its flaws, then that's great. I'm serious. People have different tastes and what may bug some people might not bug others. I know that because I have certain tastes that a lot of people don't agree with. I know that I'm very rarely bothered by bad CGI. I also know that I'm significantly more annoyed by excessive greyness than most people (which really didn't help this movie). I really hate cringe comedy and really like 'mindless' action. All of us are different and if the points that worked for you in BvS overrode the points that didn't then that's great. Nobody should tell you you shouldn't like the movie. Even I won't tell you you shouldn't like the movie. I'll point out all the reasons to dislike the movie (as numerous as they are), but if you still enjoy it regardless then that's fine as well. If somebody wants to write a rebuttal to any of the points made here, I'll read it and debate it politely, as long as you're not being a dick about it (or only aiming criticisms at me as a person). Okay?

 

Anyway, now that's all done, I'm going to get nice and drunk and hopefully forget all about this movie. Hopefully.

 

Footnotes

 

*I knew the second I saw that 'Memorial' line that it had been taken from somewhere else because I couldn't imagine the writers of this movie coming up with a line so genuinely good and inspiring.

 

**Still annoyed I never found room in the review to talk about the hilaristupid Man-Bat dream.

 

***Honestly, I think the main reason Marvel is doing so well is because they really do an outstanding job of characterising their protagonists and making them likeable. That's their main strength. (Even if their villains could use work.)

rukaio101

Okay, we're finally moving into the final act of this turd. Only one more part left after this one. And yet there's still so much crap left to cover. Here are the previous 3 parts in case you've missed them.

 

 

 

 

--

--

--

--

--

--

Spoiler Warning (Obviously)

 

Now, before we get really into this part, let's play the catch-up game again on some of the plot threads that we've missed. Basically, Lex, after being given access to the Kryptonian Ship and to Zod, has sliced off Zod's fingerprints and used it to access the Kryptonian computer. Surprised the military didn't think of that as soon as they recognised it had a fingerprint scanner, but whatever. Anyway, Lex gains access to the knowledge in the Kryptonian computer. He discovers some illegal method to mutate a Kryptonian into a monster and decides to try it on Zod's body. The Kryptonian computer probably should've had safeguards built in to stop people doing that since it's so illegal. But instead it just shrugs and goes 'Eh, why not?' since the Kryptonian High Council is dead. I hope, in the future, any AI's we build won't suddenly agree to kill people and build nukes simply because the EU was wiped out. Also, Lex mixes in his blood because SYMBOLISM.

 

Anyway, this is yet another reason why this Lex Luthor is a terrible adaptation of the character. The key appeal of Luthor as Superman's arch-rival is that he is among the best of humanity as far as intellect goes (and in some incarnations as far as physique goes) yet is constantly overshadowed by what he considers an alien, a cheater, who, ironically, embodies the best of humanity morally.* The idea that this Lex Luthor's final grand plan revolves around him using alien tech for an alien technique on an alien body just makes him feel like a scavenger, someone picking up Zod's sloppy seconds, and not enough like a legitimate threat in his own right. Not to mention, why exactly does he want to create a mindless rage monster (which he shows no signs of being able to control) in the first place? It'd make some sense if Doomsday was a last ditch, 'Scorched Earth' backup plan in case the stuff with Martha and Batman failed, but no, he starts it up before Superman and Batman even start to fight. What was he going to do with it if Batman succeeded in killing Superman? Start a petting zoo?

 

Batman-V-Superman-Doomsday1.jpg

"$5 to touch him, $10 to ride, $50 to get him to turn up at your birthday party and incinerate your friends."

 

Anyway, now we're all caught up with the side tangents, back to the main plot. Lex kidnaps Martha Kent and Lois so he can lure Superman out of hiding and use Martha Kent as a way to manipulate him into... Waitwaitwaitwaitwait, LEX KNOWS SUPERMAN'S SECRET IDENTITY?! What? When? How? Why? We never get any kind of explanation or foreshadowing towards this! Lex just knows who Superman is all of a sudden with no rhyme or reason. Did he know at the party? Did he know before the film even started? Did Clark drunk tweet it or something? Lex also apparently knows who Batman is as well with equally no explanation. How did he find this stuff out? Did he just read the script? If he knew this stuff all along, why hasn't it been foreshadowed in the slightest? Surely you could've added some kind of interesting interaction between Clark, Bruce and Lex at the party if he apparently knew who they were this whole time. Also, if Lex can find out who Superman is, how come Batman seems to have no clue? The guy's supposed to have been investigating Superman since he turned up. I doubt the 'World's Greatest Detective' would miss something that this floppy-haired goon picked up. Ugh, and I've barely even gotten started with this thing.

 

Anyway, as I was saying, Lex kidnaps Martha with the help of some goons in a van. He also sends GSH to kidnap Lois from the Daily Planet building... somehow. Seriously, there were still people in the building at the time and we never see GSH threaten her with a gun or anything. Lois just sees him dressed up as a janitor and next scene she's kidnapped. It didn't even have anything to do with that pointless bullet investigation she was doing or anything. Anyway, Lex meets with Lois on a rooftop and lobs her off so Superman can rescue her. Which he does. Which is a touch frustrating because it means, after his emo moment, Superman doesn't really return to being a hero of his own accord in this movie. He just does it to rescue his girlfriend, aka someone he specifically knows and is important to him. Come to think about it, almost the entire rest of the movie is spent rescuing either people he knows or fighting back against stuff specifically trying to kill him. Just like MoS, there's very little of Superman's actual heroism for the common man to be seen here.

 

Batman-v-Superman-Trailer-Screenshot-2.j

"What, you mean making a ton of Jesus Symbolism isn't enough?

 

Anyway, Superman flies up to confront Lex on the roof and I'm reminded once more just how utterly terrible this movie at bringing together its plotlines. Because, if you think about it, Superman (as Superman) and Lex have never actually met up until now. Sure they met once, with Supes as Clark Kent, at the party but they never had any kind of meaningful interaction. And Supes has no idea about anything Lex has been doing or that he's even a factor in any of this. For like all of the movie up to this point, Supes probably just thought Lex was some random billionaire who he barely knew. Next minute, he's on a rooftop and Lex is ranting like this was some grand, built-up confrontation between the two of them. Supes should be largely confused as to who the hell this guy even is.

 

Batman-v-Superman-Trailer-Screenshot-2.j

"It's... Tex something, isn't it?"

 

Anyway, Lex reveals he's kidnapped Martha and taunts Superman with all of this. He does this all the clownishness of Heath Ledger's Joker but none of the intimidation factor. The Ledger Joker's clowning worked because you never knew when/if he was going to snap and shove a pencil through someone's eye. He was unpredictable and that mix of clownishness and brutal violence made him utterly terrifying. Eisenberg's Luthor is unpredictable but not because he's going to shove a pencil through anyone's eye. It's because you don't know what ridiculous thing he's going to do next. And that makes less intimidating and more, well, ridiculous. Also, he wrote 'Witch' on Martha's head because SYMBOLISM. Anyway, using the photos, he gets Superman to kneel before him and, while he's unable to act, stabs him in the neck with a Kryptonite shiv made from that tiny bit he used to slice off Zod's fingerprints. Oh no, wait, that would be the sensible thing to do. Instead, he sends Superman after Batman telling him to kill the latter or Martha gets flamethrowered. Apparently, he's been deliberately manipulating Batman into fighting Batman by forging letters from Legless Employee. Which makes no sense.

 

Now, at first, my assumption was that Lex was sending Supes after Bats so he could get his Kryptonite back. Bit pointless since he already has Supes under his thumb, but maybe he wanted it to collar Doomsday or something. But the fact that he was deliberately goading Batman into fighting Superman changes all of that. Because that suggests he was goading Batman to steal the Kryptonite in the first place. So why does he want Batman dead? The two should largely be on the same side, seeing as they both Superman dead. The only real problem Batman caused Lex was to steal the Kryptonite which Lex apparently wanted him to anyway. And if he doesn't want Batman dead and just hopes that Superman will be killed by him, that still makes no sense because there are million better and more sure-fire ways he could've killed Superman, especially now he has Martha to threaten him with. Pretty much the only reason I can think of that he'd want to send Superman to fight Batman is because 'it's in the title'. It's an excuse plot of the worst kind. Despite all the build-up (as little as there was) and foreshadowing of the incompatible ideals of the two, ultimately the only reason Batman v Superman comes to fruition is a mixture of a misunderstanding, one character being blackmailed and a huge scoop of 'because the plot said so'. See, this is what happens when you spend your runtime on pointless Courtroom and bullet subplots. You end neglecting the very purpose of your movie.**

 

Batman-v-Superman-Trailer-Screenshot-2.j

"Maybe if we filled the holes with more Jesus symbolism..."

 

But Lex's plan in general is just all over the place. Let's just take it from the top, shall we? Lex sends a bunch of mercenaries to Africa (armed with prototype weaponry that can only be traced back to him because... reasons) to work with a terrorist organisation Lois is trying to interview. They deliberately reveal an undercover CIA agent to get Lois in trouble and then start shooting terrorists before Superman can show up. This somehow leads to a Government hearing being called on Superman (which I already explained makes no sense). Lex then goes to Legless Employee who coincidentally happens to have become a major public figure in the meantime due to vandalising Supes's statue. He posts Legless Employee's bail and gives him a new wheelchair so he can convince Senator Finch to let him into the hearing (which I've also explained makes no sense). Then, in a part of his plan so important he even has to sacrifice Mercy, his own assistant, Lex blows up the courthouse using Legless Employee's wheelchair. In a plot point I've already explained has no point. At the same time, he's been sending threatening messages to Batman under the guise of Legless Employee (apparently for several years) to goad him into stealing the Kryptonite Lex has been smuggling into the country and fighting Superman for the sake of a person Batman should consider a suicide-bombing murderer. Then he kidnaps Martha Kent and Lois Lane, throws Lois off a building to bring Superman to him (and promptly forgets about her giving her the perfect chance to go to the police with her story) then uses Martha Kent to bring Superman completely under his control and sends him to kill the Batman who coincidentally happens to be challenging Supes to a fight. And then he creates Doomsday because petting zoo.

 

Do I even need to explain how convoluted that plan is? I joked that Lex read the script to this movie beforehand, but that's the only way any of his plan could've worked. It's so dependent on coincidental factors and illogical character decisions and has so many useless tangents and side plots that it should've fallen flat from Stage 1 if this movie was anywhere close to realistic. Great Criminal Mind of our Time, my ass.

 

Also, speaking of goals making no sense, we get to learn Lex's motive for hating Superman and boy is it a doozy. Apparently because God didn't save Lex from being abused by his father, that means Gods don't exist or God can't be either all good or all powerful and/or other stuff Snyder/Terrio found in their 'Religious Philosophy for Beginners' book. And that all somehow relates to Superman because this movie looooves pouring on the undeserved Jesus imagery. Despite the fact Supes is obviously not a God, since he's already explained he's an alien and otherwise he wouldn't have let Metropolis got smashed in the climax of MoS. Does Lex seriously think that someone being more powerful than a normal human makes them a full-on God? Was he stalking and murdering weightlifters until Superman came around? It's just the stupidest, most nonsensical motive that's only here because the movie wanted some more unearned religious symbolism. Hell, if you're trying to make him the Joker, why not go all the way and just give him no motive? How much better would it be if a devastated and terrified Superman looked up into Luthor's eyes and asked why he was doing this. And Luthor answers 'Because I can.' That works so much better than some half-assed religious crap. And you can read a lot more into it.

 

latest?cb=20140101182945

"Plus his transformation into Trolluthor would be complete."

 

Okay, I've ranted enough about this movie's 'Greatest Criminal Mind of Our Time', let's get down to the titular fight. And it's a little difficult to talk about because action is one of those very subjective things that people can easily have different, but valid opinions on. I know a lot of people who really liked this fight. I, on the other hand, was bored out of my skull. So I can only talk about my own reactions. However, it is slightly odd that I was so bored by this fight, yet I actually found myself really enjoying the later Doomsday fight. So what was it that made the latter work for me but failed to make the Batman v Superman fight work? It took me a bit but I think I've worked out the precise reasons I found this fight significantly worse.

 

1) It gave us a clear hero and villain but put them the wrong way round.

 

Now, I would've preferred to have a fight where both characters are to some extent in the right and good guys and fighting for what they believe in, but simply have incompatible ideals. However, if we must, having one side forced to fight and the other side simply having a misunderstanding can work. But the problem is that they have things the wrong way around. Batman is the villain in this fight. There's no two ways about it. Superman is trying to save his mother's life. Batman is trying to kill Superman. Superman is the hero here. The problem is Superman is also not the underdog. Superman seriously outmatches Batman. And that makes it really difficult to keep narrative tension because writing a balanced fight for Superman is, well, really difficult. People made that joke about this fight being over with a single blast of Supes's heat vision but that's completely true, even with all of Batman's traps. If the hero can beat their opponent with a single look, where's the dramatic tension? Now, if Batman was fighting for the right cause or, hell, if they were both fighting for a good cause, this fight would be a lot tenser for it. Hell, even if was just a case of Batman desperately trying to hold Superman off for, say, 10 minutes, it would be a lot tenser. As it is, this fight is just a case of Superman letting Batman punch him around when he should be able to win the fight easily while the audience gets frustrated and tells him to just end it already. Which leads me to my next point.

 

 

2) Superman should have be able to win the fight easily.

 

Or at least the fight as it's been set up in the movie. The second Supes grabbed Bats to fly him through that building, the fight should've been over. It should've been obvious to Supes from the sonic weapons/machine guns that Bats had this entire place booby-trapped. So what he should've done was fly Bats as far away from the place as possible so they could talk. Or dropped him in the ocean. Either would've done the job. But no, it never seems to occur to him, even after he starts to recover from the initial Kryptonite gas bomb. Why? Because the plot insists Superman acts like a moron so Batman has the chance to weaken him and punch him around a little.Speaking of...

 

 

3) There's no real intelligence behind the fight. It's just a brawl.

 

You may be reading the last point thinking 'That may be true, Ruk, but surely it's really difficult to write a balanced fight between Superman and Batman in the first place?' But you're forgetting that this is 'prep-time' Batman we're dealing with. The guy who can apparently defeat Gods by simply having a few days to prepare properly. Which is why it's so utterly pathetic how little intelligence and creativity he shows in the fight. Really, he set two booby traps (the sonic blasts and the machine guns) and just relies on Kryptonite gas and punching Supes for the rest. What a let down. These two are supposed to be polar opposites right, brain and brawn? Let's put a little bit of that brain to use.

 

Imagine, if you will, Bats using that sonic blast as a distraction for Superman when he lands. While Supes is dealing that, Bats leaps down a hole into a base he's prepared ahead of time (lined with lead of course to avoid Supes's X-Ray vision). Supes rolls his eyes dismissively, floats down after him and is immediately hit by a Kryptonite gas bomb. Now Supes is weakened, taken off guard, trapped below ground and it's pitch black, leaving Batman plenty of room to put his key feature (stealth) to work. That's a good way of putting them on even ground and leaves room for plenty of tactical trickery from both sides as Supes tries to fend off Batman long enough to regain his strength, while Bats tries to make sure Supes stays down. That would be a great fight. Sure you'd have to ditch the Bat-armour to make the stealth work (or have Bruce put it on below ground), but that's only there for the Dark Knight Returns reference anyway. Unfortunately, all we got in this movie was two guys punching each other.

 

18649bcbebps0jpg.jpg

"Basically this, but if the characters had less personality."

 

4) There's no real spectacle compared to the other fights.

 

The fight between Supes and Zod in the last movie was enjoyable to watch (for some) because they're both superhumans. The fight between the Trinity and Doomsday was fun to watch because they're (Batman aside) superhumans. The fight between Batman and Superman is one slightly-stronger-than-average human fighting a superhuman so heavily handicapped as to become a slightly-stronger-than-average human. Yet it's still shot as if it should be as impressive or as big a deal as those other fights. It's not.

 

 

5) The entire thing could've been avoided if both sides didn't act like idiots

 

Seriously, if Batman had taken two seconds to listen to what Superman was saying, this fight would not have happened. Similarly, if Superman hadn't given up so quickly on trying to explain the problem to Batman, the fight wouldn't have happened. It's difficult to feel pumped for a fight when the story leaves you yelling at the screen 'just stop acting like idiots and listen for a second'. It's a pointless fight that shouldn't have happened if either side had any common sense.

 

 

6) There's been no build-up to these characters.

 

Before this point, Batman and Superman have only met once in their superhero identities. The only other time they met, Bruce had no idea Clark was secretly Superman. They've had no chance to get to know anything about the other. They are complete strangers to each other. Hell, before tonight, Batman was merely a footnote in Supes's life. 

 

But beyond even that, they're poorly defined as characters in general. I went into this pretty heavily in my 'Show don't Tell' bit, but I think it could bare another examination. To steal an idea from Red Letter Media, try to describe the personalities of both Batman and Superman in this movie. Not Batman and Superman in the comics or animated series or any outside media, just what we see in this movie. There's barely anything there. I mean, sure there are a few things you could come up with for Batman but Superman is a surly blank slate. That's what happens when you spend almost all of your runtime mistaking talking points for characterisation. These characters are wooden and unlikeable and thus I don't care about seeing them beat each other up. And this leads me into my final point.

 

 

7) I don't care about these characters

 

Let me repeat. I don't care about these characters. I care about Superman and Batman in media as a whole, but I don't care about them in this adaptation. In this movie they don't feel like real rounded human beings with aspirations and personalities and lives of their own. They feel like mannequins with the Superman/Batman logo on them designed to spout whatever talking point crosses Snyder's mind and do whatever the plot tells them regardless of whether it makes sense for that character. How am I supposed to care about that? I cared about Batman when he ran into a collapsing skyscraper to help his employees. But now I've had to sit through 2 hours of him being grim, bland and ultimately ineffectual to the main storyline. Superman is even worse. At least Batman got the skyscraper moment. Superman does nothing but mope and look miserable while doing the obligatory 'saving people' montage. And Superman's supposed to be the more human of the two. He's the one with a genuine human life in the form of Clark Kent. Yet he never once feels like a well rounded character. Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are well rounded characters. They have ups and downs, tears and laughter, goals and aspirations and flaws and varied relationships and are just as willing to shoot the shit with friends as they are to get into a deeper conversation. As such, we care about them because they're well defined characters. We (or most of us) like them both. And thus, when they argue or fight, it hits us harder. Even their short verbal squabble in Avengers hit me harder than the entire fistfight in this movie. The characters have none of that. None in the slightest. But that's what happens when you mistake grimness and symbolism for depth.

 

 

Phew. So yeah, that fight was a bit of a let down. And I think everyone and their aunt has talked about how stupid the conclusion was. That the gladiator match between two of the greatest superheroes on the planet was solved not by a sense of empathy or understanding of the other's ideals, but by a glorified coincidence. If Ma Kent's name had been Julia, Bats would be sticking Clark's head on a Kryptonite pike by now. So, rather than rag on about that, I'm going to touch on a different point. If Bats hadn't chosen to save Martha, how would that have led to the Knightmare future? Yes, Martha would be dead but, then again, so would Superman. It's a bit difficult to become dictator of the world with a Kryptonite spear in your heart. And I seriously don't think Batman would just leave the body lying around for it to magically revive or whatever's happening in Justice League. The Knightmare future shouldn't have happened either way. Food for thought.

 

Anyway, since they both have mothers with the same name, Bats and Supes are super best friends now. Bats goes off to save Martha from where she's being held captive. He also leaves the Kryptonite spear lying around the warehouse where anyone can find it, because God knows that thing wouldn't be dangerous in the wrong hands. But anyway, I'm sure in this upcoming fight we'll be able to see Batman gain newfound empathy and renewed hope in goodness after reconciling with Supes. I'm sure will see this bring him back from his bitter murderous rampages earlier in the film to the side of good and respect for human life once mo- What's that? He straight up murders the guy with the flamethrower? Never mind then. God knows we can't let anyone actually have any kind of character arc in this movie.

 

Callan+Mulvey+300+Rise+Empire+World+Prem

"Wait, my mother's name was Martha too!"*boom*

 

Oh and also we get another poorly placed an unnecessary Justice League tease, this time with Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. It's amazing that, despite the fact these scenes could be placed almost anywhere in the movie, Snyder insists without fail in placing in the spots where they'll do the most damage and break the film's momentum. I'm half surprised he didn't stick one in the middle of the Doomsday fight. But whatever. I really don't have much to say about these clips. They're nothing more than poorly placed product placement just for the next film instead of for a business. Honestly, I'm half surprised one attachment in that file didn't have an IHOP ad. 

 

--

--

--

--

--

--

Okay, let's wind down for now. Only one more part left to go. Come on, Ruk, you can do this.

 

However, for my final comment on this part, I'm going to quickly return to the 'Martha' thing. Yes, I know I said I wouldn't rag on about that. I lied. But I'd like to talk about a specific defense of the moment that I've seen people bring up. Specifically, the idea that bringing up Martha's name allowed Bats to emphasise with Superman, to see him as something more than just an alien, to see him as someone with a life and family of his own and even with some (coincidental) similarities with Bats's own life. And that's a great idea. That's great storytelling and way to help the two reconcile their seemingly incompatible mindsets. There's just one small problem.

 

This movie did nothing to set that up.

 

Seriously, it'd be fine if this movie had a running theme of Batman insisting Superman is alien and inhuman and can't possibly be empathised with, only for the finale to flip it on his head. Maybe even going on a rant at his parent's grave to Alfred about how 'that thing isn't human. It doesn't have empathy or humanity or a mother who cared for it and taught it right from wrong.' You know, interesting, direct foreshadowing for that scene. But no, we had spend all our time with SYMBOLISM and useless threads like the Courtroom scene. I mean, sure Batman brings it up Supes 'not being a man' every once in a blue moon but the movie is already packed with so many useless, unexplored talking points that those are simply mistaken for even more of that and washed away in the flow. In the Dark Knight Rises, no matter what you thought of that movie, there was strong foreshadowing for Bruce escaping the pit through the 'Why do we fall' talking points and that's because the talking point there was memorable, repeated often, decently explored and not overcrowded with a million other barely explored talking points. There's no solid foreshadowing for the big moment in this movie so the realisation either falls flat on its face or just looks dumb.

 

And I've seen a lot of people who just don't understand why Batman would switch at that moment. It's not their fault for 'not getting it' or not 'being deep enough' or 'not understanding the comics' (although amusingly I've seen defenders equally accuse people of sticking too strongly to the comics). It's the movie's fault for not doing a good enough job explaining it. You can have all the 'deep' and 'meaningful' themes you want but if no-one can understand them then your story is bad. The only way you can get away with that sort of poorly explained stuff is if your movie deliberately supposed to incomprehensible, like the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But somehow I doubt that was the intention here. Hell, I've seen multiple completely different/incompatible explanations for why Batman seemingly stopped from defenders of this movie. Even they can't make up their minds. And not a single one of those other explanations that I've heard to date have set up properly either. But I'm going to go into even more detail on that when I reach the most egregious example of 'Poorly set-up themes' in the final part of this review.

 

So, join me next time for the grand finale as we finally finish off this turd. And it's going to be an interesting one, especially since we get to cover, in my opinion, one of the best moments in the film... and one of the worst. 

 

 

Footnotes

 

*Before I get complaints that Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor wasn't like that in the original Superman, I'll be honest. I never thought that Hackman's was a particularly good interpretation of the character either. Better than this, mind, but still one of the weakest parts of the original Superman for me. He never really struck me as a serious threat for Superman  or even the world, with his little underground lair and two henchmen. Other people may disagree though.

 

**It's also annoying because the 'retrieving the Kryptonite' motivation made sense before Lex revealed he was goading Batman into the fight in a single throwaway line that could've been easily removed. Effectively, the writers were so concerned with making Lex look like a chessmaster effortlessly manipulating every character that they accidentally made his plan and goals make no sense. Also, again, Batman and Lex haven't really interacted in any serious degree either because the plotlines in this movie are so poorly brought together.

rukaio101

Up to Part 3 now and boy is this one a doozy. If Part 2 had me at my most calm and analytic, this part has me at my most raging and infuriated. Because this part covers what, for me, is probably the worst moment in the movie. And I'm pretty sure it won't be what you're expecting.

 

Anyway, here are the previous two parts for those needing to catch up.

 

Now let's get right back in.

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Spoiler Warning (Obviously)

 

Now, before I really start going with this part, I should catch up on a plot thread I've somewhat neglected in these last few scenes. (Because, quite frankly, I've had enough trouble keeping up with the 'main' plots as it is). Remember that legless employee I mentioned back in Part 1, who vandalised the Superman Statue with a crappy religious metaphor? Well, he's had his bail posted by Lex Luthor who offers him a new electronic wheelchair for totally not suspicious purposes. He also recommends he goes to Senator Finch and ask to attend the hearing against Superman. Finch agrees to let him in because the plot says so. I really don't think there was any serious reasoning behind that guy being there. He wasn't acting as a witness or anything and is technically still under criminal charges. He's only there because the plot needs everyone to act like idiots and let him in without bothering to check his wheelchair.

 

But anyway, this leads us to the Courtroom scene and the point, for me, where this movie fully tipped into the abyss of terrible (albeit not for the reasons you might expect.) But I'll get to that. First, let's cover what actually happens. Superman turns up for the hearing about his role in the world and for a moment it looks like we may have an interesting scene going. Perhaps we could finally actually delve into some of the philosophical issues around Superman for once rather than just paying lip service to them. Maybe we could have a bit reasoned debate and back and forth where both sides make good points. Maybe Superman could give one of his classic hope-filled speeches about his role in the world and expectations for humanity. It's a little odd that Lex isn't here, but no matter, we can still- Wait a minute... What's that on Finch's desk...? 

 

800px-Urine_sample.jpg

"Hello darkness, my old friend."

 

Yes. The jar of piss was a plot point. A hilarious, ridiculous plot point that made me laugh like a maniac for a solid minute. Admittedly, it's also a largely unnecessary one since the only reason Eisenberg put it there was to troll Senator Finch, but it's so hilarious for entirely the wrong reasons. Because we're laughing at Luthor here, not laughing with him. We're laughing at the fact that he's so fucked up he thought this would be a sinister move. When the judge in the Dark Knight found a joker card among her files, that was sinister. This was comical. But the most amazing thing about it? Holly Hunter actually manages to sell the scene as tense. I'll admit, I have no idea how the character's brain went from jar-of-piss to bomb/serious threat, but Hunter manages to create a genuine sense of being thrown off balance and helps give the impending feeling that something is about to go wrong. Which is incredible since it's, again, revolving around a jar of piss. Seriously, give that woman an Oscar. She deserved it.

 

800px-Urine_sample.jpg

"Or give it to the jar of piss. Both are worthy."

 

Anyway, the bomb in Legless Employee's wheelchair goes off and blows up the entire courthouse. Now, if you were Superman and a bomb had suddenly gone off and killed everyone in the room with you, what sort of expression do you think you'd wear? Surprised? Horrified? Devastated that you couldn't save anyone? Well, this movie went with 'bored and/or mildly inconvenienced'. Seriously, I am blown away with how expressionless Cavill is in this scene. It's not like the guy can't act, I've seen him do great in Man from UNCLE, but who thought that face was a good fit? He reacts to the sudden and violent deaths of everyone around him like someone did a fart and he'd just smelt it.

 

Now, when this plot twist first happened, I genuinely thought it was a fantastic move by Lex and the writers. A brilliant scheme to turn the world against Superman and drive him into a corner. Unfortunately, that reaction was based on one critically false assumption. I assumed Superman would be blamed for the explosion. I mean, there''s no reason to assume he wouldn't be. It happened shortly after he arrived, in the middle of a hearing about whether he's out of control. Obviously he got a result he didn't like and destroyed the hearing in revenge. That's what I assumed people would think happened. But no. Practically next scene it is announced on the news that Legless Employee is the prime suspect and Superman is considered mostly innocent (at least until he fails to turn up because he's busy wangsting). In the theatre, I genuinely had to wonder for a moment as to whether I'd misheard that because it seemed so wrong. But I hadn't. And this leads me to my next question which I'm going to ask in the calmest, politest, most relaxed way possible.

 

WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE POINT OF ANY OF THAT?

 

I'm serious. This grand masterstroke of Lex's plan amounts to fucking nothing. The only effect is has on Superman is to make him mopey. Which he was already and quickly gets over. The only effect it has on Batman is to make him hate Superman. Which he did already and would've probably fought him regardless. It has zero effect on any other characters or plotlines. (And the logic behind it 'pushing Batman over the edge' is really stupid as well. Is he really going to be mad at Superman for the jerkass ex-employee who apparently sent him threatening messages (despite having no reason to hate Bruce) seemingly suicide bombing a building full of innocent people? How is that Supes's fault?) Even from Lex's point of view, this plan achieves nothing. The only reason it in any way turned people against Superman is because of Superman's own actions and decision to stay away from people. A decision which made so little sense, character-wise, I can't seriously believe for a moment that Lex foresaw it. Step Two of Lex Luthor's grand master plan, everyone! It achieved absolutely nothing! And, even if Lex had somehow forseen Supes choosing to be emo, it's still entirely pointless to the whole movie since Supes staying away and the world kinda-sorta turning against him has no absolutely impact on the final conflict. It's the most infuriatingly pointless thing in the movie.

 

But Ruk, I hear you cry, you've covered a lot of pointless plotlines in this movie before. What makes this one so rage-inducing? The answer is that, more than any other plotline, this Courtroom scene had a lot building up to it. And I mean a lot. Remember that list of plot threads I posted back in Part 1? Let's bring that back for a second.

 

Senator Finch holding a hearing on Superman's actions

Luthor framing Clark for the collateral in the Africa incident

Luthor's attempting to ship Kryptonite into the country

Luthor's plot to create Doomsday from Zod's body

Clark investigating the Batman

Lois investigating the bullet from the fallout in Africa

Batman investigating Lex

Legless Employee vandalising shit

 

See those that I've bolded? Those were the plotlines whose existence was solely there to lead into that Courtroom scene (or in the Lois/bullet case, was an already pointless plotline that sprang from a scene whose only point was to lead to the Courthouse). Those plotlines have no other purpose in the movie. None. They change nothing else in the movie. They add nothing else to the movie. They were only there to bring us to this Courtroom scene, which as I've already established, ultimately had no point. So effectively, almost half the movie up until to now had no point. Let me re-emphasis. ALMOST. HALF. THE. FUCKING. MOVIE. HAD. NO. POINT! 

 

Pointless Scene Counter: ERROR

 

No wonder I feel myself become so utterly flabbergasted when people claim the 3-hour Directors Cut will fix the problems with this film. Expanding slightly on a handful scenes isn't going to save anything when nearly half of the entire first act (and significant portions of the second) build up to absolutely nothing. And it's not like they were short on content or anything. This movie is over 2h30m. You could shave a whole hour off that and still have a feature length movie. And there was other shit you should've been exploring instead! I've brought it up a number of times now that this movie seemed dedicated to setting up everything except Batman v Superman. Well, one of the biggest things they were setting up, in place of that, was this completely pointless Courtroom plot thread. And since I've apparently broken the Pointless Scene Counter, let's play a game instead and count all the more interesting things this movie could've been setting up in that screentime.

 

Superman and Batman interaction and development

Clark and Lex interaction and development

Clark and Lois interaction and development

Lex's motive for hating Superman

Clark and Lois investigating Lexcorp

The Fallout of MoS's climax

Superman's current place in the world

Superman's character

Batman's character

Wonder Woman, period

Any of the hundreds of philosophical ideas about Superman that this movie or MoS only gave lip service to

Batman v Superman

Lex Luthor pissing in a jar

 

But no. Snyder just haaaaad to go for this plot thread. This useless plot thread that added nothing, did nothing and achieved nothing except to make my brain melt out of my ears. Plus it killed off Mercy Graves, who was like the hottest thing in this movie.

 

MercyGraves.jpg?1438096161

"Oh Mercy, I don't care that you barely got any lines. That still made you a better character than most in this movie."

 

Now do you understand why I hated this moment so much? People may complain about Batman murdering people or Superman being killed or Eisenberg's Luthor or a billion other criticisms that could validly be considered the worst part of the movie. But for me, it's this. The moment where almost half of what we've sat through so far has become completely irrelevant and pointless. Even Man of Steel, for all its many many faults, was not this bad. At least it actually told a coherent, albeit terrible, origin story. At least I could recognise the plot progression and at least most of the scenes had a point. I can not begin to say the same about this. Even movies like Fan4stic had more focused storytelling and that movie was missing its entire second act! But apparently, that wasn't good enough for this movie. This movie was determined to waste as much of our time as possible. So Grand fucking job, Zack Snyder. Thou truly art a king among storytellers.

 

*deep sigh* Alright, that took a lot out of me. I need something now to take the edge off my anger and calm me down. What's up next?

 

4559215-jonathan+kent's+death+2013.jpg

"...Can we go back to the jar of piss, please?"

 

So yeah. Pa Kent returns as a spirit vision thingy that may or may not be just a figment of Clark's imagination. And who knows, maybe this is their grand attempt to redeem Pa Kent from his controversial and strongly disliked portrayal in MoS? This is the perfect chance to do it. Clark is at his lowest, most doubt-filled point. All Pa Kent needs to do is give him a good pep talk and confirm to him that being a hero is the right thing to do. And bingo, he's straight back to being the beloved father figure of one of the most moral Superheroes out there. Simple, right? So very, utterly simple. So simple that I might as well take it for completely for granted that even Snyder would get this right and-

 

Pa Kent: "Hey Clark, one time I tried to be a hero by diverting a river away from my farm, but instead I caused my neighbour's horses to drown. Could've just diverted the river away from my neighbour's farm as well, but I wanted you to know that saving other people just makes things worse and is bad. Peace out." *disappears into a tornado*

 

.....Huh. Well, at least Pa Kent's dickishness is consistent across both movies.

 

4559215-jonathan+kent's+death+2013.jpg

"YOU HAD ONE JOB! ONE FUCKING JOB!"

 

Alright, I've heard some interpretation around the internet that what Pa Kent was trying to teach Clark with that story was that actions, even heroic ones, have consequences. Which is a perfectly reasonable and interesting message to teach to Superman. Unfortunately, they forgot to add the bit on at the end where Pa Kent tells Clark he should be a hero anyway! As it is, Pa Kent is only telling Clark a story about how being a hero is a horrible idea and makes things worse. As such, especially when you consider his 'maybe let schoolchildren drown' persona from the last movie, it largely just comes off as him indirectly telling Clark to stop being a hero. And, let's also point out, this scene does absolutely nothing to help to Clark snap out of his emo funk. Certainly, the next time we see him, he's being Superman again, but it really doesn't seem like it's because of this scene. There's no big revelation Pa Kent helps Clark though. It seems like he's just there to be a dick. In fact, one could almost say this entire scene was completely pointle-ARGDSADFN!

 

Pointless Scene Counter: *silently sobs*

 

Anyway, back with Batman and he's decided that it's finally time to take down Superman. Not because of Metropolis's destruction, Supes threatening him or the Knightmare or anything relatively sensible. But because Legless Employee suicide-bombed a bunch of innocent people and that somehow makes him worth avenging. Sigh. Anyway, he steals Lex's Kryptonite offscreen, (making sure to be polite enough to leave an obvious batarang calling card so everyone knows it's him) and goes on his big, pre-fight training montage. Which largely consists of him beating up a tire like it murdered his fucking parents.

 

Now, I'll be honest, I kind of assumed a training montage of Batman preparing to fight Superman would be focused on the mental rather than the physical. You know, creating gadgets and shit, exploring that intellect and tactical knowledge that makes Batman such a tough foe. I don't think Bruce being a little bit more in-shape than usual is going to help him against a guy who can punch him into fucking orbit. Sure, he does do a bit of a gadgeteering with creating some Kryptonite weapons, but I would've liked to see him work on stuff like those sonic devices as well. Or maybe some more unique plots or back-up plans that'll get a satisfying payoff during the fight. But then again, apparently this movie really doesn't want to spend any more time than it has to setting up its own titular fight.

 

That said, it's good to see we're finally starting to get a bit of solid momentum going as we head towards the titular fight. Now that the audience is really starting to feel pumped from Batman's training montage, it's only natural that Zack Snyder would take advantage of that enthusiasm and build it up even more by moving to a scene that builds up the fight even closer, right? Right? Ri- Why do I even pretend anymore?

 

batman-v-superman-poster-gal-gagot.jpg

"Did someone say 'pointless tangent'?

 

Yes, this was the point where Snyder thought it would be good to put another Wonder Woman tease. This. Directly after Bats goes on his big training montage, pumping himself up to fight Superman, he thought now would be a good time to cut to a completely unrelated plot thread. Did... Did you not want to direct Batman v Superman, Snyder? Did you genuinely only want to make MoS 2 or something but the studio forced you into it? Because it's just getting ridiculous how much you're sabotaging the fight that's supposed to be the entire point of this movie! And it's not even the Justice League cameo scene that's interrupting here. It's just a picture of Wonder Woman. A picture that could easily have slotted into said cameo scene. You broke the narrative momentum you had going for this? 

 

--

--

--

--

--

Okay, I'm really done for now. I need a break. But before I go, I want to talk about something I heard someone say about this film which just blew my mind. And it's this.

 

Batman could've easily been written out of this movie.

 

Seriously, if you think about it, it's true. Effectively, the main plot thread in this movie is Lex attempting to kill Superman, right? First by kidnapping Martha, then by creating Doomsday, etc etc. That's the main climax, that's what kills Superman and the plot threads related to it are the only ones that really push the story forward. But think about it. Before the climax, what does Batman have to do with that plot? Nothing. He doesn't investigate Lex's attempts to kidnap Martha/create Doomsday. He doesn't interfere with them. He's investigating Lex but only for the purpose of obtaining the Kryptonite (which ultimately doesn't actually feature into Lex's plans to kill Supes). Every one of his subplots are largely rendered pointless by the climax. And even in the climax, his only major achievements are creating the Kryptonite spear and rescuing Martha. Both of which could've probably been done by other characters. Effectively, despite all the screentime dedicated to him, it really wouldn't have taken all that much to write the Dark Knight out completely.

 

Let that sink in for a moment. In Batman v Superman, Batman could've been easily written out without much problem.

 

Food for thought.

 

Anyway, join me next time as we finally get to the titular fight, go on even more misplaced Justice League tangents and we get to learn the full extent of one of the worst supervillain plans in history. 

rukaio101

Aaand we're back. Buckle in, folks. Here's Part 2. Maybe this time we'll make it out of Act 1 alive. For those who missed the first part, here's a link.

 

Now let's get right in.

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Spoiler Warning (Obviously)

 

So back with the escaped mental patient currently wearing Lex Luthor's face, Senator Finch visits him at his home for the purpose of letting Eisenberg mug some more. (Seriously, I'm sure there must've been some reason she was there but I really can't remember at this point). And mug he certainly does. I get the impression that a lot of his 'Redcapes are Coming' stuff was supposed to be more intimidating or darkly humorous, like Heath's Joker, but instead it turned out immensely silly. Part of that is due to the writing/directing not being as strong, part of that is due to Heath's acting being better but a huge chunk is because this kind of character type just doesn't fit Luthor as a person. It fits the Joker because he's a figure on the street, someone who goes and does whatever he pleases and, above all, a complete mystery in both backstory and motive. He's not the CEO of a major company with political influence because that role requires intelligence, respectability and (outward) sanity. Something comics-Luthor has in spades but movie-Luthor severely lacks. I might accept the excuse that the movie was trying to play Luthor as an 'eccentric genius' but the problem is we only ever see the 'eccentric' and not enough of the 'genius'. Heath's Joker was crazy but showed he was also persuasive and clever in small interactions with other people. Eisenberg's Luthor shows neither. Anyway, we also learnt that Holly Hunter is the best goddamn actress in this movie for somehow keeping a serious face all throughout Eisenberg's mugging. But, once again, I'm left wondering why this whole scene needed to be in the movie. Ultimately, it only serves three things (aside from confirmed what we already know in that Lex is bugfuck insane). It tells us a little bit about Lex's father, for the purpose of a single throwaway line about Lex's motive. It introduces us to a painting, for the purpose of a single throwaway shot teasing Darkseid. And it gave us Senator Finch talking about 'labelling a jar of piss as Granny's Peach Tea." Which is going to have the best payoff in the movie. Just the best.

 

800px-Urine_sample.jpg

"His time will come."

 

As it is, there's no real reason this scene couldn't have been combined with the last Luthor/Finch scene. Other than because Snyder wants you to suffer. So, I'm going to add it to the counter.

 

Pointless Scene Count: 6

 

Anyway, after finding Luthor's name during that pointless detour with Generic Sinister Henchman, Batman decides to infiltrate Lexcorp by attending a party at Lex's house as Bruce Wayne.* And, coincidentally, Clark happens to be there as well, having apparently been kicked off the sports page. (Seriously, I don't think he ever actually finishes that article Perry asked him to do). Plus Wonder Woman's there as well! And the film makes sure you know it because it pointlessly focuses on her a bunch of times for no reason other than to say to fans 'Hey look, it's Wonder Woman!'. I mean, you could make the argument that she's being focused on now as foreshadowing for when she steals a device from Bruce later in the scene. But, to be honest, I think it would've actually worked a lot better if her first appearance in the movie was just her stealing Bruce's device. Being an unexpected spanner-in-the-works of Batman's plan would give her entrance some actual weight, mystery, intrigue and purpose. As it is, her first appearance in this movie (and in a live-action movie period) is her just standing around in a party not really doing anything and only being focused on 'because she's Wonder Woman'. Anyway, with Alfred's help via earpiece, Bruce plants a device that apparently steals all of Luthor's computer files. However, Clark overhears the earpiece with super hearing and naturally realises that shit be going down. But, rather than trail Bruce and find out what the device he planted is, he confronts Bruce in that one trailer scene and passively aggressively asks his opinion on Batman.

 

Now, while the scene between the two isn't bad, it does lead me to wonder something I've been wondering for a lot of the movie. Why is Supes largely handling Batman as Clark Kent rather than Superman? Don't get me wrong, Clark, as a reporter, can handle stories and right wrongs in ways that Superman can't, that's part of his appeal, but a kung-fu bat vigilante doesn't seem like one of those occasions. And it's not like Batman existing is new news if he's been active as long as he seemingly has. So why is he tackling this as the reporter? I mean, aside from this movie making no sense. Besides which, despite the ending of MoS making a big deal of him joining the Bugle, Clark never really does any actual reporting in this movie anyway. Hell, he actively avoids reporting if the sports page is any indication. Batman acts more like a reporter (as far as investigating goes) than he does. Why couldn't Clark have been (seperately) investigating Lex as well, as Clark Kent, leading his path to cross with Bruce/Bats? Let him work with Lois on that useless bullet plot thread and give the two some chance to develop their relationship in the process, as well as develop his rivalry with Lex in both hero and civilian identity. Come to think about it, despite being the subject of Lex's plot, does Clark/Superman even have any real interaction with Lex before Lex reveals his evil plot on the skyscraper? The only time I can think of that they even crossed paths was that brief bit at the party. But I suppose if I start picking away at all the loose threads now, this entire thing is going to unravel even more. So I'd better save that for later. Anyway, Bruce returns to find Wondy has stolen his file-stealing device. Why? Because we need yet another pointless detour so we can set up the Wonder Woman movie. Yey.

 

posters-60l.jpg

"Hey, if it ends up being as good as this one, I've no complaints."

 

Clark, meanwhile, has to leave the party to help save a girl in Mexico from a fire. And by God does he look miserable when he does it. Seriously, he's surrounded by people cheering and celebrating his name and he looks like someone just shot his puppy. Was a smile so hard? Could you at least make it look even slightly like you're happy to be saving lives? Seriously, I don't think Superman (as Superman) smiles a single time in the movie (aside from one moment which I'll get to much later). Anyway, this sets off a montage of Superman saving people (and looking miserable about it) while a bunch of talking media heads comment on it. Why? Because The Dark Knight Returns also did talking media heads. Duh. But while that comic was using Batman's actions to create a commentary on the media, this film is... using the media to make a commentary on Superman's actions. Which everyone else has already been doing anyway. Well, let it never be said that Snyder is unwilling to copy comic book ideas that he doesn't fully understand. But the placement here just feels weird. Why wasn't this montage placed at the beginning of the movie and used as establishment of Supes's current character and role in the world? Why put it halfway through the movie? And it's especially frustrating because there are a few interesting points that are brought up by the talking heads. But the movie never bothers to try and expand or develop on any of them. It thinks that paying lip service is enough. It isn't.

 

All_Star_Superman_Cover.jpg

"You mean stealing quotes from All-Star Superman doesn't make my movie just as good?"

 

Anyway, as calls increase for Superman to attend the hearing against him, he visits his home back in Kansas to see his mother. Because God knows we needed more characters/plot threads in this. Now, while this scene may seem pointless at first glance, it does actually serve an important purpose. It reminds us Martha Kent exists so she can get kidnapped later. Hey, just 'cause it's cheap doesn't mean it's not a purpose. But, while it's not a pointless scene, it is one of the biggest wastes of potential as far as scenes go. Not for developing the story, but for developing the characters. Because this scene was a perfect opportunity to actually make Clark feel human. This is the perfect opportunity to see him just casually chatting with his mother. To show his interests, likes, to show him enjoying himself and acting like he has a life outside of Superman. Which, to be honest, is something this movie never does. That's fine with Batman, since a core tenet of his character is that he doesn't really have a life/goal outside of being Batman. But not with Superman, whose life as Clark Kent is of equal importance to him. The closest we ever get to a Clark Kent character scene is with Lois in the bathtub, but that doesn't really work because that relationship doesn't feel genuine (due to lack of build-up/chemistry) and it devolves into talking about Superman and 'what he means' anyway. Just like this scene. It's all exposition and giving lip-service to any themes (without going into any detail) and just outright telling us character motivation and thoughts rather than showing them through the characters.

 

In fact, this leads into one of my biggest flaws with the movie as a whole. When it comes to its characters it, few minor scenes aside, always tells rather than shows. If, like me, you're a writer, then chances are you've come across the saying 'Show don't Tell' at one point in your life. And it is one of the most important things you can learn. Actions speak louder than words. Simply having a character monologue and directly tell us about how they're feeling or what their motivations towards a scene are is never as effective as having a character show us indirectly through their actions. The problem is this movie is only interested in telling. In telling us the themes, how the characters feel, what their motivations are, how they act, whether or not they're heroic. That's all delivered through dialogue directly addressing it and the moments where it's shown through actions or even indirect dialogue instead are few and far between. It's also why the Metropolis destruction scene works so infinitely better at establishing Batman's grudge towards Superman than basically anything else in this movie. Bruce doesn't shout in it about how 'all this is Superman's fault' or how 'if there's even a 1% chance he's an enemy he has to be stopped' or anything else like that. Instead, we see him taking in all the destruction, seeing Superman and Zod soaring through the sky and giving a single silent look. And that look shows us far more about Batman's motivations that a million scenes of Superman droning on to Lois/Martha about how unsure he is about his place and whether his heroism is making a difference and yaddah yaddah. Unfortunately, Snyder's lack of concern towards 'showing' leads him to unintentionally show us some pretty horrible things about the characters. We see Batman with seemingly no concern for human life. We see Superman looking miserable as he saves people. What does that show you about their characters? Not good things, right?  It's also exactly why MoS's Superman was so lambasted for not showing any real concern for Metropolis's citizens (even if that talking point has gotten a little overblown). What the movie shows us, often unintentionally, can have a serious detrimental effect on the character. And what we're shown about Superman/Batman here makes them look terrible. Especially compared to what we're shown about Wonder Woman (probably the most heroic character in the movie (outside of maybe Chad)). In the finale, she was on a plane heading out of the city, out of the danger zone, but when she heard about Doomsday, she chose to go out of her way to leave safety and help. Her actions show us her heroism infinitely better than Lois just telling Superman he's great and a hero and etc. That's why it's so important to put thought into what you're showing as well as what you're telling.** 

 

bvsquad2.jpg

"For example, this poster suggests Batman and Superman will share more than five scenes with each other.

 

Anyway, speaking of Wonder Woman, let's go back to the pointless detour to set up her movie. Bruce confronts Diana at a museum.*** He tells her that he sees through her 'Babe in the Woods act' which I don't think she's ever once done. (Seriously, prime example of Snyder telling when he should've been showing). She explains that she's after a photo Lex has of her but she can't access it from Bruce's device. Bruce offers to access it for her. The two banter, Wondy lays down mysterious hints about her true identity that are kinda pointless since everyone already knows she's fucking Wonder Woman and once more I'm left wondering why this needed to be a separate scene. There's no reason they couldn't have just done this at Lex's party. So on the counter it goes.

 

Pointless Scene Count: 7

 

Anyway, Bats returns home with the data and starts decrypting it. And then we go straight into the Knightmare sequence, aka that one big glorified Justice League ad in the middle of the movie. Basically, Bats dreams of a dark apocalyptic future where everyone dresses like a poor Mad Max cosplay. In it, he meets with some guys who have apparently got some Kryptonite for him, only to be betrayed with a fake and ambushed. It's alright as scenes go, but there's one minor thing that really bugged me. During the betrayal, a hooded figure standing nearby throws off his hood to reveal he's one of Supes's gasmask stormtrooper guys from the trailer. How the hell Batman and his men miss that guy? It's not like the goon actually put the mask on to reveal his identity, he was apparently wearing the whole gear under his hood. Minor detail, but whatever. Anyway, Bats goes on a killing spree with guns, even snapping one mook's neck (because god knows we all wanted to be reminded of that scene from MoS, didn't we?). Now this could've been a genuinely good shocking moment for audience goers if handled right. Having Batman not just kill but shoot his enemies could've shown how bad this future had gotten by showing that he'd be willing to betray his core principles so easily. The only problem is we've already seen Batman deliberately kill in this movie. By proxy, sure, but still killing. So it has much less of an impact and just comes off as more Snyder 13yo fanfic with future Batman being 'badass' and 'edgy' and shooting a ton of bad guys before being taken down. Also Parademons because Darkseid and Justice League. Of course, if you're not familiar with them it'll just confuse and frustrate you and leave you wondering why winged demons are suddenly working for evil Superman.

 

_1449167769.jpg

"Seriously, is this a thing in the future?"

 

Anyway, Bats wakes up chained in an underground room. It turns out the big threat in this dark future is, surprisingly, Superman, who straight up heat visions a bunch of guys to death and then blames Batman for the death of someone he loved which apparently turned him evil. This makes no sense on multiple levels for reasons I'll get into much later during the BvS fight, but most of all, it's a pretty heavy insult to Supes's character that he'd turn full on Immortan Joe evil just because of one person's death. I mean, sure, you could make the argument that maybe he's being manipulated or controlled by Darkseid, but there's nothing really to seriously indicate that. Apparently Batman is right and Superman is that easy to turn evil. Imagine what would happen if some mugger managed to kill Lois/Martha/whoever before he could get there. We'd all be fucked.

 

Anyway, Bats wakes up seemingly in real life only for the Flash to show up from a wormhole to yell at him. Of course, you only know it's the Flash if you're incredibly observant or super-heavily read the comics. Flash only turns up once more in the movie and he looks barely anything like the guy in the security footage so it's really hard to tell. Casual audiences are going to be confused as fuck. Hell, if I didn't know who it was before seeing the movie, I'd be confused as fuck. He really looks very little like Flash in that armour. It's not even red. Anyway, Flash yells a ton of vague bullshit at Bats, hinting at Justice League and tells him that Lois is the key to this. Which is a blatant lie. Lois is the key to absolutely nothing in this movie. He also asks 'Am I too soon?' Which largely sums up my feeling towards this scene. Yes, you're too soon. You should've been in Justice League instead. Then Bats wakes up again, seemingly in real life now. Yes, they actually did the double-dream fake out. You know, that cheap technique saved for lousy jump scares in lousy horror movies. Hey, why don't we throw in Freddy Krueger while we're at it? It'd make about as much sense. 

 

freddyvsjason1.jpg

"Hey, at least that movie actually tried to focus on Freddy vs Jason."

 

Now, as annoyed as I am that they did the double dream fake-out, this scene unfortunately falls into a different category. The completely pointless one. In fact, this goes beyond being completely pointless and straight into Big-Lipped Alligator Moment because it didn't change anything and nobody ever brings it up again. Ever. The only tiniest mention it gets in the end is Bruce saying 'He has a feeling' something bad will happen in the future. Rather than outright saying 'I saw a crazy-ass vision of the future and I think terrible shit is about to go down'. And that's at the end, after the movie is already over. This affects nothing else that actually happens during the movie. Flash's comments didn't change any of Bruce's actions. He doesn't go after Lois to see what she knows. (Hell, I don't think he ever shares a scene with her until he's about to kill Supes). He doesn't choose to help Martha because of the dream. He was already going after Superman regardless and doesn't change his mind about finishing him because of Flash's words. Even his decision to bring together the Justice League at the end was fueled more by guilt for his part in Superman's death and his wish to avoid a repeat. None of his actions are affected in any way by the vision. I joked about it being a glorified Justice League ad, but that is literally the only purpose it has. It affects nothing in the movie. The whole thing was completely and entirely pointless.

 

Pointless Scene Count: 8

 

Okay, anyway, now that those two detours for other movies are over, we can get on with the actual fucking plot. Bats finishes decrypting the data and learns that the 'White Portugese' is actually a ship which Luthor is using to smuggle in Kryptonite. It turns out that Bruce has been lying to Alfred the entire time about his true aim investigating Lex. He wants to obtain Kryptonite and forge anti-Supes weapons. Finally, we're getting some actual build-up to the BvS conflict of the friggin' movie. And the fact that Bruce was lying to Alfred (and so he could secretly support a cause Alfred disagrees with) is certain to cause some genuine emotional tension between the two. Maybe it'll show further signs of Bruce pushing away his allies as he becomes more obsessively paranoid about Superman to the cost of his own relationships and- Oh no wait, hold on, that would require storytelling of actual intelligence and depth. Instead Alfred scolds him once and never brings it up again. Making the whole lie entirely pointless in hindsight. Between this, the Knightmare and Lois's bullet investigation, maybe I should just create a pointless plot thread counter for this movie as well.

 

Anyway, Bats goes to try and steal the Kryptonite from GSH and a bunch of Luthor's men. They all get into a big a car chase with the Batmobile. And, once again, we see Snyder directing Batman with all the grace and nuance of a 13yo boy writing fanfic. "So first, like, the Batmobile smashes into this one car and sends it flying into a building. Then, he's like chasing this truck and firing machine guns from his batmobile and then smashing through buildings and ramping onto the truck and he would've totally got the Kryptonite, but Superman turns up and he's like 'Stop this now'. But Batman is too cool to be intimidated and he's like 'Do you bleed' and Supes flies away and Batman's like 'You will' because he's cool and edgy like that."

 

all-star-batman-robin-batmobile.jpg

"I never thought 'All Star Batman and Robin' would end up being an inspiration for this film."

 

That said, it is still a fairly enjoyable, if nonsensical action sequence. Despite all my misgivings towards him, Snyder does know how to do action. But Supes's appearance makes no sense. First of all, it comes the hell out of nowhere. Seriously, there was no indication he was anywhere near the scene at the time.**** I'd complained that the two weren't together enough before this but that doesn't mean you should drop him a scene with no warning or foreshadowing. Secondly, why doesn't he just arrest Batman? He obviously thinks he's a threat (and justifiably since he probably just killed a bunch of Luthor's men and smashed his way through dozens of buildings.) Even if we assume he was giving Batman one last chance, the second Batman starts with the 'Do you bleed?' shit, Supes should've realised he wasn't going to stop and should've taken him down, rather than just fly away. Pretty much the sole reason this sequence doesn't end with Supes throwing Batman in jail is because the story says so.

 

Still, at least we're actually getting some Batman v Superman at this point. Seriously, I mentioned this last part, but I'm pretty certain Clark/Supes and Bruce/Bats have only interacted twice now at this point (Knightmare not included). Yet we have 8 entirely pointless scenes that could've been cut or worked into other scenes with no issue. And while the lack of direct Supes/Bats interaction could've been forgivable if they were each the main focus of the other. they're not. Superman's main focus/worry for the story up to this point is the Government hearing. And while Superman is what Batman is preparing for, his main focus/worries at that point are Lex/Wonder Woman. I said it before, I'll say it again, this movie seems dedicated to setting up everything except Batman v Superman.

 

--

--

--

--

--

Okay, before we go on another break, I'd just like to go on a brief tangent about this movie's 3 hour Director Cut. People seem to be convinced that any problems in the movie will certainly be fixed if Snyder has more of a chance to expand on them. But I can almost certainly say they won't and the fact that Snyder thinks they will shows exactly what's wrong with him as a filmmaker. (Or one of the things that's wrong). This movie does not need to be longer. In fact, as far as my Pointless Scene Count shows, this movie needs to be shorter. Much shorter. This movie needs a hatchet taken to it to remove all the unnecessary fat, scenes and plot threads that ultimately add no depth and lead nowhere. And I know that sounds like anathema to a lot of people, especially in this current moviemaking climate where people seem to think being 'simple' and 'short' somehow makes a movie worse. But sometimes making a good story is not about knowing when to add. It's about knowing when to subtract. And this movie needs that more than anything.

 

Anyway, next part's going to be a doozy. We get to cover the Courtroom scene, Batman vs Tires and the return of everyone's favourite character...

 

4559215-jonathan+kent's+death+2013.jpg

"Oh how I've missed you."

 

Enjoy.

 

Footnotes

 

*Brief minor footnote for a minor quibble, but during the party Lex goes on a odd faux-philosophical talk about Gods and Prometheus and etc. I assume this was Terrio's work, since he talked in interviews about his inspirations from Mythology for this movie and Justice League (which I actually do like, especially since an argument can be made that Superheroes are effectively a modern mythology.) However, he brought up Prometheus and stated he was struck down by a lightning bolt for stealing fire from the gods. Which really bugged me because it's completely wrong. Prometheus was, quite infamously, punished by being tied to a rock and having vultures peck out his heart every day. It's strange that a guy who talked so much about researching mythology would get something so basic wrong. And honestly, the vulture thing would've been a cooler story and could've tied into Lex's eventual fate with a bit of work (he succeeds in his goal of bringing down fire to man (killing Supes) but is punished in a long and drawn out way (being stuck in prison)). Minor detail but it really bugged me.

 

**I didn't want to go into any kind of Marvel v DC bit here, but if you want a perfect example of 'Show don't Tell' storytelling for a Superhero character, look no further than in the first Captain America movie. There are so many moments that show Steve as a character (standing up to the bully in the theatre, his constant attempts to enlist, jumping on the grenade, retrieving the flagpole) and all without needing to go into huge monologues about his feelings and motivations. 

 

***Another minor mythology moment turned up here in the museum with the Sword of Alexandria which cut the Gordian Knot. And for a very brief moment I thought that might've actually been really smart and subtle foreshadowing. That Wonder Woman would be the sword (person) that easily cuts through the seeming untangleable problem (Batman v Superman). Then I remembered who I was dealing with here and, surprise no surprise, she has nothing to do with Bats/Supes making up. The sword is just there to because it's a 'cool reference' and to show Wonder Woman knows about swords.

 

**** It's funny because there's actually a perfect scene elsewhere in the movie that could've built up Supes's appearance in that car chase. One of the weirdest, most poorly placed scenes in the movie is a very short one where we cut to the Daily Planet and to Perry White asking where the hell Clark is. Nobody knows, so Perry makes a joke about him 'clicking his heels three times and vanishing back to Kansas'. And that's the scene. Now, in an example of terrible editing, the next scene is not in Kansas and doesn't even feature Superman in the slightest. Neither do the next few scenes. Which is just facepalm worthy. But imagine slipping that into the middle of the Batmobile chase. Perry wonders where Clark has gone. Cut to Batman rounding the corner in the Batmobile and suddenly slamming into Superman. Wouldn't that have worked so much better? As it is, Perry's Kansas jibe, while funny, is completely pointless. So I'm retroactively adding it to the count. 

 

Pointless Scene Count: 9

 

That's right. Not even in the footnotes is this movie safe.

rukaio101

Oh my God this movie... Just... I can't even... 

 

Okay, let's take this from the top. Anyone who knows me particularly well knows that I hate Man of Steel. Hate it with a passion. It was one of my most anticipated movies of 2013 and ended up being the worst superhero movie I've ever seen. Sure, on a technical level it's not as incompetent as Fan4stic or Superman IV: Quest for Peace, but it managed to get under my skin in a way that few other movies could. Especially since I adore Superman and it fucked up every core tenet of that character possible. Hell, it fucked up every core tenet of basic character writing. It was a mess.

 

As such, I was not particularly expecting this movie to be good. And there were a lot of warning signs in the marketing and trailers to support that. But, deep down, I so badly wanted this movie to be great. So so badly. Because like I mentioned, I love Superman. And, as overrated as he is, I love Batman too. And love the idea of the conflict between them, two incompatible ideals, both on the side of good but unable to coexist. There's so many fascinating ideas that could be explored with this. And even Snyder couldn't fuck it up quite that badly, right?

 

Then I saw the movie. And I had to admit I was impressed. I genuinely didn't think anyone could make a superhero movie I hated as much as Man of Steel, but Snyder tried. Oh how he tried.

 

Seriously, I went into this with no expectations and still came out disappointed. There was so much bad. Bad characters, bad plotting, bad conflict, bad bad bad with only a few bright spots inbetween. And honestly, I decided that only going over the big points wasn't going to do it for this review. I decided I was going to take it apart scene by scene in gulp. Then I wrote about 2500 words and realised I had yet to even get out of Act 1. That's how fucking dense this movie is. So, to give Dawn of Justice the 'Justice' it deserves, I'm going to have to make this a multi-part review.

 

So instead, enjoy Part 1 of BvSvR. Because this movie is just that bad.

 

--

--

--

--

--

--

Spoiler Warning (Obviously) 

 

Okay, so we start with what must be the 500th on-screen adaptation of the Wayne family murders. Because God knows we needed to see that again. It's crosscut with scenes of young Bruce at the funeral, running away, discovering the Batcave and becoming Bat Jesus as a swarm of bats lift him into the air in a crucifix pose. All of this is overlaid with the most pretentious faux-deep narration which means nothing and you will almost immediately forget. The only line I actually remembered was one which was something like 'But those who fall... *long pause* ...are fallen". And I only remembered that because it was hilariously redundant. Hell, this entire scene was hilarious redundant. You could cut it and nothing of value would be lost. That's going to be a running theme through this movie, by the way. I'm tempted to start a counter.

 

But I think the worst thing about that opening scene (aside from it being pointless) is that the next scene works just as well as the beginning and is actually really good. Like really good. It's the kind of scene that actually got my hopes up that I might've been wrong about this movie. It's Bruce Wayne arriving in Metropolis during the climax of MoS and desperately driving across the city to reach his office building while the entire place falls apart around him. It's tense, well-shot and really gets across the atmosphere of being helpless in the midst of a major disaster. It's better than any scene in the climax of MoS. And it had actual emotional stakes as well. Upon landing in Metropolis, Bruce shares a brief phone call with an elderly friend in said building named Chad. And credit to both of those actors, with only a few lines of dialogue, I actually ended up caring about Chad. It helps that he seemed like a genuinely nice and heroic guy, urging the other employees to evacuate the building and apparently staying behind to make sure they all got out (which kinda makes him more heroic than anyone else in this movie). So for that, I'll even forgive him being the second instant of heavy handed Jesus imagery in this movie as he prays while the building is torn apart by heat vision only to die when it collapses. 

 

Anyway, as you've probably seen in the trailer, Bruce runs into the dust of the collapsing Wayne Enterprises building and dazed makes his way through the dust. Then, for some reason, a horse wanders by. Which genuinely kinda threw me to be honest. What the hell was that horse doing there? Were there horses randomly wandering through the rubble of 9/11? Anyway, Bruce helps an employee whose legs have been crushed and saves a little girl whose mom was killed and generally does more to help the suffering citizens of Metropolis than Supes does in MoS. Then, upon spotting Supes and Zod flying through the sky, he gives that death glare from the trailers which is just spot on acting by Affleck and the perfect topper to this entire fantastic scene. Unfortunately, the movie decided not to just end there and now we have over 2 hours of whatever goodwill I felt from that scene being pissed down the gutter.

 

800px-Urine_sample.jpg

"Just putting this here for later."

 

We then move to the present to a group of kids fishing up a big rock with Kryptonite in it and selling it to a guy. This scene is entirely pointless and could easily have been told simply through exposition (and actually is) but, no, Snyder just had to have that shot because it was just so key to the entire movie. In fact, you know what, I think I'm actually going to start that Pointless Scene Counter after all. I get the feeling I'm going to need it. 

 

Pointless Scene Count: 2 

 

Meanwhile, Lois Lane is up to journalism hijinks in Africa, interviewing some terrorists. Unfortunately, her cameraman is found to be a CIA mole by Generic Sinister Henchman (who I think played one of Grillo's men in Winter Soldier. However, despite not being a background character here, he has about as much personality as one). The cameraman tells the terrorists that Lois had nothing to do with the whole thing and pleads for her life, making him, for me, the second genuinely heroic character in the movie. Unfortunately, like Chad, he doesn't last the scene and is immediately shot in the head. However, while Lois and the terrorist leader are in another room, Generic Sinister Henchman (yes, I know he's technically KGBeast, but he doesn't have enough personality here to deserve a name) and his men turn on the terrorists and shoot them before motorbiking off. Then Superman turns up and casually smashes the terrorist leader through several walls, probably killing him. Really learnt that lesson about respecting the sanctity of human life from MoS, didn't you Clark?

 

Anyway, I didn't entirely recognize it at the time, but this is the very beginning of one of the most convoluted, nonsensical evil schemes I've ever seen. Apparently, Snyder saw Bane and Talia's stupid plan in TDKR (one of the few low points of that movie) and thought that was the key to Nolan's success. So he'd go and do it times 1000. Basically, the idea is that GSH is working for Luthor to get people killed so Supes would be blamed for the damage when he showed up and that a government hearing would be held on him as a result. Except there are a number of problems with that scheme. First of all, I think people will notice that the terrorists were shot, rather than burned/crushed/neck snapped. However, if the plan was that Superman's presence was supposed to have set off the terrorists, that still makes no sense because all that would indicated was that Superman's presence caused the terrorists to shoot each other. And why would the people of the world get in such a fuss about terrorists being killed? It makes no sense! And this is STEP FUCKING ONE people! It's only going to get stupider from here.

 

Calculations_Blackboard_XL_410_282_c1.pn

"I assume this was the original draft of the plan."

 

Now, the next few scenes are probably going to be a bit out of order. Not so I can make any point about them but because they were so terrible placed and so painfully unrelated to each other that I genuinely can't remember the actual order they went in, so I'm largely guessing. Which I suppose is kind of its own point about the terrible editing/story, but I digress.

 

Anyway, next (presumably) we go to Gotham to see Batman apprehend a sex trafficker. It's a decent scene and works as an introduction to Batman. Unfortunately, it's also where we get the first indication of how Batman's going to be written in this movie. Specifically, like a 13yo boy's crappy 'edgy' fanfiction. "See my Batman is so cool and awesome that people mistake him for the devil and he dodges shotgun blasts and brands this evil guy with a bat so other criminals will kill them in prison. But that's okay, because he's not directly killing them. Also, he gets these awesome gritty future visions as well, but I'll get to that later, please subscribe." Honestly, I wouldn't even be that pissed at Batman killing if it was made clear that this was a sign he'd genuinely gone over the edge after Supes's appearance/the death of Robin. But no. He just gets some mild scolding from Alfred and that's it. Besides, that would require this movie picking a character arc/theme and actually sticking to it. Which, as you will learn, is not something this movie is capable of. 

 

250px-Dark_knight_returns.jpg

"The inspiration for so many a bad Batman fanfic. And this movie."

 

Anyway, moving on to Lois taking a bath. Because sexy times, I guess. Apparently Lois and Clark are living together/dating, having gotten together at the end of MoS despite there being absolutely no build-up, logic or chemistry between the actors in that movie. Same goes for here. And it adds nothing to this film that them merely being good friends wouldn't add. Anyway, Lois brings up the fallout of the Africa incident and how the government want him to answer for it and Clark's response (and one of the first words out of his mouth in this movie) is 'I don't care'. Really showing that fucking heroism and love and respect for the common man there Clark. But then again, if I picked out every moment in this movie where Superman acts distinctly un-Supemanly, this review would be twice as long as it already is. But I will be coming back to that 'I don't care' line later. Because I'm not done with it yet. Anyway, more sexytimez in the bath. Also, this entire scene was also largely pointless. Maybe I might've given it credit for building up the relationship between Lois and Clark or humanising the two characters if it had actually done a good job of doing that. As it is, it's going on the counter.

 

Pointless Scene Count: 3

 

Meanwhile, over in a LexCorp facility, we're about to get an introduction to our main villain, Lex Luthor himself. Technically. In actuality, it's more like, before the movie, the Joker secretly murdered the real Lex Luthor and is currently wearing his face. Although that might actually be fun to watch because the Joker is intentionally amusing and unsettling. This guy is not. Seriously, I had doubts about Jessie Eisenberg when I heard he was taken the role, but that was because I thought he'd struggle to be intimidating. I was right that he made a bad Luthor, but for entirely the wrong reasons. He is completely fucking insane. There is none of the recognisable Luthor charm or charisma that make the character work as a popular villainous parallel to Superman. This Luthor has all the charm and charisma of a wet plastic bag suffocating a child. I've complained that MoS turned Supes into a low-rent Batman character-wise, but this movie turned Luthor into a low-rent Joker. Even his hatred for Superman is less about his own feelings of inferiority and more... some gibberish about Gods and his father beating him and who even knows. 

 

latest?cb=20130820074906

"This guy would've made a more appropriate Lex Luthor."

 

Anyway, Luthor is meeting with Senator Finch to talk about having a shipment of Kryptonite sent over so he can create anti-Supes weapons with it. Finch bans him from doing so because she disagrees with his idea of having a deterrent against Superman (despite the fact that she's the one holding a hearing questioning his existence). However, the random old guy with her, who I don't think ever gets a name or explanation as to who he is, has other ideas. Now, you've probably already heard stories about this movie's bad editing, but this scene is a particular standout for me. Effectively, after meeting with Finch, the scene cuts away to another scene (I don't precisely remember what). Then, several scenes later, it comes back to Luthor and random old guy, in the exact same place, stepping away from Finch and talking privately. Random old guy says that maybe he can help Luthor get what he wants in exchange for favours (what 'favours' he wants are never brought up, so I'm just going to assume sexual ones). He asks Luthor what he wants. Luthor says he wants access to the crashed Kryptonian ship. And we immediately cut to him entering the building with it in. That's it. That was the scene, beginning to end. I was genuinely taken back in the cinema when I saw that. It was just so pointless. Eventually, it turns out that they were planning to do one of those cut-back-and-forth things as we briefly jump back to the same scene as Luthor then says he wants Zod's body, and then we jump to him receiving it, but it was so poorly handled and edited it's just jarring. The scenes in between are just too long that it breaks the flow of the back-and-forth. Then it finishes with Lex feeding the guy a cherry sweetie. (Yup. Definitely sexual.) Also, it's really nothing that couldn't have been tacked on to the scene of Lex meeting Senator Finch. It didn't need to be two separate scenes. Which means it's time yet again to add to the counter. 

 

Pointless Scene Count: 4 (I was tempted to count it as three separate scenes but I'm not that cruel. Yet.)

 

Now, back to Clark who overhears on the radio about the Batman catching and branding the sex trafficker from before. Apparently the idea of branding bad guys is just too much for the man who tackles terrorists through several walls so he decides to do a story on Batman as Clark Kent, arguing that the guy is bad because he thinks he's above the law. Which is funny, considering one of the first things Clark says in this movie is that '[He] doesn't care' about a government hearing called to discuss his own 'above the law' collateral damage! (I told you I'd come back to that). Seriously, any kind of point Clark was trying to make here about Batman is undermined by the fact that he's doing the exact friggin' same! Did the writers even read their own script?! Anyway, Clark's ambitions to write about the Batman are squashed by Perry (one of the few genuinely funny characters in the movie) who wants him to do his freaking job and write about sports (as he was assigned to). Clark just ignores him and does his own thing making me wonder why the hell Perry doesn't fire his ass. (Come to think about it, why did he hire him in the first place? Clark had no journalistic experience and- you know what, forget it, I don't need to get into MoS's troubles at this point.) At the same time, Lois wants to chase down a lead about a bullet she retrieved from the Africa incident. This, I should note, is not a pointless scene. No, this a pointless plot thread. It really goes nowhere except to tell Lois that Luthor is a badguy. Which quickly becomes very clear anyway.

 

Anyway, in the Batcave, Bruce is talking with Alfred (the other genuinely funny character in the movie). Apparently, Bruce has been tracking the activities of a mysterious figure related to the trafficker named 'White Portugese' (who is Luthor but Bats doesn't know yet). Apparently, he was able to draw a connection between him and Generic Sinister Henchman (remember him? Back in Africa? Feels like an eternity since then, doesn't it?). Anyway, he goes as Bruce Wayne to some sort of underground fight ring, helps a boxer win by whispering advice into his ear, shares a few words with GSH while distracting him so he can copy the files on his phone with some hacking tech stuff. The only useful information he gets from this entire thing is that Luthor is involved. And quite frankly, the writers could've just had him learn the information from the trafficker at the beginning and cut out the middleman. Making this, yet again, another pointless scene.

 

Pointless Scene Count: 5

 

Also Bruce learns that that employee he rescued from the collapsing building (whose lost his legs) has now vandalised the Superman statue in Metropolis with 'False God'. He could've just written 'Murderer' or something more direct and affecting, but that wouldn't have been nearly pretentious or heavy handed enough. Plus it wouldn't have let Snyder make another Jesus metaphor.

 

--

--

--

--

 

Okay, now, I'm going to take a quick breather here for the sake of everyone's sanity. But before I end Part 1, let's play a fun little game. How many plot threads can you count in the movie so far? Here's the ones I counted.

 

Senator Finch holding a hearing on Superman's actions

Luthor framing Clark for the collateral in the Africa incident

Luthor's attempting to ship Kryptonite into the country

Luthor's plot to create Doomsday from Zod's body

Clark investigating the Batman

Lois investigating the bullet from the fallout in Africa

Batman investigating Lex

Legless Employee vandalising shit

 

That's 8 plot threads. Most of which have only a tenuous connection to each other. And we're not even finished with Act 1 yet. Within said act, we've still got the Knightmare and Wonder Woman sequence to come. That's 10. 10 Plot threads. In one movie. At once. Plus enough pointless scenes to actually create a counter.

 

And the most mind-numbing thing of all? Only one of those plots is related to the seemingly main conflict of 'BATMAN V SUPERMAN'! Seriously, despite a fantastic opening scene showing more than enough reason for Bats to hate Supes, we haven't seen Batman make a single move against him or barely even mention him at this point. Sure, later it's revealed that part of the reason he was going after Luthor was because he knew about the Kryptonite and that he could use it against Supes but that doesn't get revealed until much much later. For a movie called Batman v Superman, the film seems dedicated to setting up every plot thread except Batman v Superman.

 

Phew. Okay, Part 1 over. Next part, I'm going to be covering the Knightmare, the half-assed Wonder Woman set up and the continuation of 13yo fanfic Batman (this time with cars!) Pray for my soul people. Pray for it.

rukaio101

Oh my God this movie. Okay, the first Taken I adore. One of my favourite action movies. The second Taken is shit. This? This is just.... comically bad. Stupidly, hilariously, infuriatingly bad. Really, I don't think a quick REVIEW summary is going to do this justice. I'm going to have to take this apart scene by scene. Because this movie is just so so bad, it deserves something a bit special.

Okay, we open with an accountant being kidnapped from his home by thugs led by a guy who looks like a discount Jason Statham. He takes Accountant to their boss who is your basic generic Russian mobster except with a stupid-looking haircut. Generic Russian Mobster #461 has Accountant open a safe belonging to Accountant's boss, which is empty. This angers Generic Russian Mobster #461 so decides to leave a message for Accountant's boss by killing Accountant..... by shooting him in the leg. Seriously, he shoots him in the leg and Accountant just instantly drops dead. He definitely wasn't shooting high enough to hit him in the torso or head, so I assume it was the leg. But there's no blood whatsoever. For all I know, he missed or had the gun loaded with blanks and Accountant just dropped dead from shock. Or Accountant is just narcoleptic. Anyway, this scene has nearly nothing to do with the rest of the movie, Narcoleptic Accountant is never seen or heard from again and the entire thing was a waste of time...

...

...

...

...

...

TAKEN 3!!!

We then get a looooooong opening credits sequence of nothing but overhead shots of a city at night. Just at the point where you're pondering whether you can open your wrists with a popcorn tub, the actual movies starts and we see Liam Neeson buying a giant panda for his now 20-something year old daughter, Kim, for her birthday. Or at least for 3 days before her birthday. Because apparently he decided to buy this stuff 3 days earlier because everyone feels he's 'too predictable' and he wanted to shake things up. By the way, that line about him being 'too predictable' gets repeated about 10 times in the first couple of scenes, then never returns except for a very brief moment halfway through the film. Anyway, Kim is pregnant! Oh my God! And she doesn't want to tell her father about it! And..... this subplot ultimately ends up being completely irrelevant in the end. Doesn't even end with her giving birth in the middle of a packed action scene. For shame.

Anyway, Liam Neeson gets a call from his ex-wife, Jean Grey. (Okay, she's called Lenny in the film, but it's difficult to take any emotional moment centred around a woman called Lenny seriously.) She's having relationship troubles with her current husband, Sleazebag- I mean, Rich Sleazebag- I mean.... Stuart.... and she wants to talk to her ex-husband about it. Can't see anything going wrong here. Anyway, she arrives, 2 minutes later she's telling him how she fantasises about the two of them being back together and 3 minutes later, they're kissing. Who'd a thunk it? Now, in case you're wondering how this film treats the fact that the two of them were previously in a relationship that didn't work out, the answer is 'It ignores it entirely'. Seriously, the way these two talk in this scene, you'd never guessed that they were ever divorced or even previously dated. Also, I should note that this is the only scene Jean Grey is actually alive in. Seriously, she's dead the next time we see her. I think she gets more screentime in this movie as a corpse than as a living person.

P020121130740687231395.png

I'm just going to leave this here.

The next night, Liam Neeson receives a visit from her boyfriend Stuart who does his utmost to present to you that he's a sleazebag and obviously going to be in some way responsible for Jean Grey's death. Seriously, had he walked in with flashing neon lights surrounding him saying 'I'm a Villain!' it would be a less subtle. Anyway, he basically asks Liam to stay away from his ex-wife (in a totally not villainous way) while they sort out their issues. Rather than pointing out that that's Jean Grey's decision, Liam agrees without protest. Then again, basically the next day, Liam's perfectly happy to let Jean come over to his house. Without even mentioning the promise he made to Stu. Dick move, Neeson, dick movie.

Like I said, the next day Liam receives a text from Jean Grey asking if she can come over for bagels. Rather than telling her to go buy her own goddamn bagels, Liam goes out and picks some up. When he comes back ZOMG Jean Grey is dead! Apparently she was stabbed to death (judging by a knife Liam Neeson sees on the floor (and picks up like an idiot) being the murder weapon) but there's once again no blood whatsoever. And she's on a white sheet at this point. So apparently blood just doesn't exist in the Taken 3 universe.

Anyway, Liam Neeson escapes from the cops in one of the most obnoxiously edited action sequences I've ever seen and makes it into the sewers. To track him down, the police call in Tommy Lee Jones Forest Whittaker who proves his genius as a supercop by... eating one of the bagels Neeson left behind. Why? He fucking loves bagels, that's why. (Seriously though, isn't that supposed to be evidence?) Anyway, Forest Whittaker leads his super team of blandly forgettable cops in search of Liam Neeson whose first move is.... to break into the morque to look at Jean Grey's corpse and nothing else. Really showing that superspy training there, Liam. Also, ew.

Anyway, after admiring his ex-wife's dead naked body, Liam Neeson tracks her car's GPS and discovers she visited a gas station in the middle of nowhere for no reason. He goes to visit there and finds security cameras showing a bunch of thugs in a black van abducting Jean! Gasp! This surely proves his innocence right?! And the cops, who have also followed up on the GPS hint, follow him there and arrest him. But hey, they still have the tape proving his innocence, right? Well.... no. Pretty much everyone forgets about that tape. Seriously. Hell, we actually see Forest Whittaker watching it and.... nothing. Seriously, that tape basically proves Neeson's innocence and no-one ever brings it up again.

402762_original.gif

Anyway, since we've somehow stumbled into a bizarre alternate universe where clear cut video camera footage doesn't count as evidence, Liam must escape from the cop cars carrying him. And he does so in the middle of the freeway during what I can only assume was a 7.0 earthquake. Seriously, the camera shakes around so goddamn much, it's difficult to tell what's going on. But there's a lot of carnage and violent crashes and there is no way in hell at least one innocent person wasn't killed. Seriously, at one point a car gets smooshed by the most poorly secured truck cargo in the world. And nobody ever brings up that people obviously got killed by Neeson causing carnage here! He may have cleared his name of his wife's murder, but probably got at least 4/5 manslaughter charges he should be dealing with!

scrubs-clap-o.gif

But that's not even the stupidest thing to come of this action scene. Neeson manages to push out both of the cops in the car he's driving and makes his getaway from the freeway. However, he's still being pursued by cop cars. He eventually gets cornered on a multi-story car park. And you are not going to believe this next bit. He drives his car backwards into an elevator shaft. For no reason, the car explodes (and takes a good chunk of the building with it. Seriously, unless the trunk was filled with C4, it should not have made an explosion that big.) Gasp! Is Liam Neeson dead?! Suddenly, Forrest Whittaker receives a phone from none other than Neeson. How did he survive? We.......... never find out. Seriously. They never tell us how he got out. We know he didn't jump out before it went into the elevator shaft because we see a shot of him moving in there. Apparently, Liam Neeson can now just teleport.

Anyway, rather than let the police think he's dead, Neeson phones up Whittaker because I don't even remember why. Next in his brilliant tactical plan to hunt down Jean's killer, Neeson.... decides to set up a plan so he can visit his daughter. Why? Literally no reason! And it's not even like that's an easy thing to do. She has police following her everywhere! They put a listening device in one of her jackets! (And I mean one of her jackets. We see them put it in there and it's just that one. They're kinda pushing their luck hoping she'll wear that exact jacket when Neeson tries to meet her. (Speaking of, I'm pretty sure bugging without her permission/a court order is illegal.)) Anyway, Neeson's plan is so batshit, I'm going to give it to you in its unadulterated form.

Basically, Neeson has one of his secret service buddies give her a message to 'keep being predictable'. Earlier in the movie, while they were talking about predictability, Kim mentions how she always buys a yoghurt drink in the morning from the same shop in the exact same place in the fridge. Neeson has planted a post-it note on that specific drink telling her to drink it immediately. She does so and leaves (and I don't think she pays either). Later, in class, Kim feels nauseous and goes to the bathroom where Neeson is waiting, bundles her into a stall and deactivates the listening device. Apparently, he had spiked that drink with something to make her feel nauseous so she would go to the bathroom and etc etc

71191-what-the-actual-fuck-gif-game-cJX5.gif

Okay, 1) I'm pretty sure there are more than one girl's bathrooms on a college campus. Your entire plan would've been ruined if she went to one of them instead or just went home. 2) If there was anyone else in the bathroom at that time, you wouldn't have been able to bundle Kim into that stall and your entire plan would've been ruined again (hell, two girls walk in just a few minutes later). 3) Why couldn't he just have put a note telling her to visit that specific restroom rather than poisoning her? Which brings me to 4) YOU POISONED YOUR DAUGHTER YOU GODDAMN MANIAC!!!!!!

Anyway, Kim is surprisingly okay with being deliberately poisoned by her dad and tells Neeson that she's pregnant (because now seems like a good time). Like most of the pregnancy subplot, absolutely nothing comes of this. Meanwhile, Forest retraces Kim's steps, discovers Neeson's note by fishing around in the garbage (he even licks the yoghurt pot which I'd remind you was a) poisoned and b ) in the garbage, so ew) and realises Neeson's plot. He sends in the police but Neeson escapes them by detonating a bomb in a janitor's closet and sending the entire school into a panicked riot. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyway, a hint from Kim makes Neeson begin to suspect Stuart, the sleazy husband (who really should've been suspect No 1 for obvious reasons) and Neeson trails him along mountain roads to his Malibu safehouse. Suddenly, a black van, driven by discount Jason Statham and his thugs, comes out of nowhere and rams Neeson's car off the cliff! The car rolls and rolls and takes so much damage no-one inside could've possibly survived. And then it explodes for good measure. (And the explosion was ridiculously big again as well. Seriously, are cars in this world painted with nitro-glycerine?). So how did Neeson possibly survive that?! Apparently, he teleported out again, because he's fine in the next scene with absolutely no explanation. Seriously. They did it again. Okay, to be fair, in a later scene they show flashbacks of him diving out of the car as it's falling down the cliff and hiding from discount Jason Statham. but I'm going to call bullshit because we see the car going down the cliff and he obviously didn't! I can't believe I get to use this quote in the right context but, He didn't get out of the cockadoodie car!!!

annie.jpg

Anyway, Neeson ambushes discount Jason Statham and his thugs at a liquor store (because when I'm a professional hitman, the first thing I do after a successful kill is get plastered) and kills them all, except DJS, who he holds at gunpoint. Rather than give up any information on his employer, DJS forces the gun into his mouth and pulls the trigger himself. And... rather than see his brains blown out, he just kinda gets a goofy look on his face and falls down dead. Remember, blood doesn't exist in this universe.

Anyway, Neeson arrives at Sleazy Stuart's manor, takes out his security and teleports next to Stuart. (No seriously, Stuart hears Neeson take out a guard, looks away for one second in the middle of a wide-open room, and next second Neeson is standing a pace away. I'm telling you, between Taken 2 and 3, Neeson joined the X-Men. Probably where he met Jean Grey.) He then knocks out Stuart and takes him to a warehouse to waterboard him. Oh and maybe ask some questions. Seriously, when Stuart wakes up, the first thing Neeson does is waterboard him. Only after that does he ask any questions. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be the other way round but hey, I'm not Liam Neeson. Hell, he doesn't even know Stu is definitely involved.

Anyway, slimey Stuart reveals he's been doing deals with Generic Russian Mobster #461 (remember him? All the way back in the intro?) But their last deal fell through and Stuart lost their money so GRM #461 had Jean Grey murdered. And then framed Liam Neeson..... despite having never met him before or having had any reason to want him out of the way. Rather than point out this gaping hole in Stuart's story, Neeson instantly believes Stu and figures that the Russians will go after Kim next. Rather than phone Forest or Kim and tell them to increase the police protection, Neeson enlists three of his secret service guys to pick her up assuming that she'll be safer in the hands of four guys rather than a dozen trained police officers.

Next, he has Stu set up a meeting with GRM #461 in the latter's office building. However, GRM has a special security elevator with cameras so only authorised people can use it. Neeson, Stu, Kim and one of Neeson's spy friends enter the building in a truck and use a complex computer thing to loop the footage of Stu in the elevator so Neeson can...... wait wait wait wait wait, Kim?

WHAT IN PLUPERFECT HELL IS KIM DOING THERE?!

Seriously, this the bad guy's fucking main lair! If Neeson's trying to keep his daughter safe why the hell did he bring her there?! And it's not even a 'We're short on manpower and we need you to do this important job' thing. She does literally nothing! Why he didn't leave her at his secure base? Or with the police? Or anywhere except here?!

father-of-the-year-trophy.jpg

Just going to leave this here

Anyway, after taking out two of the elevator guards with a defibrillator (I don't even know why). Neeson goes on one of his patented Neeson rampages and takes out GRM's stereotypical Russian mob guards before taking on GRM himself. GRM himself was actually in the hot tub when Neeson first arrived (apparently he holds all his meeting there.) Why am I bringing this up? Because it means he spends the entire final fight in his tighty whities. And it looks every bit as ridiculous as you'd expect. Although apparently, he doesn't need any kind of body armour because he can walk barefoot on glass shards without any injuries. John McClane calls bullshit.

Anyway, after a tough fight, Neeson shoots GRM twice in the torso. But apparently GRM has some sort of weird healing factor because when we see his body (and we get some pretty good looks in all his tighty whitey glory) there are no bullet wounds or blood. GRM is dying anyway but tells Neeson that, shocker, he didn't kill the latter's wife and that Stuart was playing them both against each other the whole time! That's right! Sleazy, obviously evil husband turned out to be evil the whole time!

tumblr_m9k5itPqoD1qdbodro1_500.gif

Forest, meanwhile, has discovered that Stu had a massive life insurance policy out on Jean Grey (which really should've been one of the first things he checked) and tracks Stu's phone GPS to the building. Speaking of Stu, he shoots Neeson's secret service friend and takes Kim hostage, because it wouldn't be a Taken film if that didn't happen at least once (no matter how goddamn contrived). Speaking of secret service friend, according to the police at the scene, he was alive when they arrived, but the movie just kinda forgets about him. We never see paramedics attend to him and never find out if he survived. Anyway, Neeson has to take the elevator to leave the building, but the cops see it come it down and are prepared to arrest anyone in it! How does Neeson escape? I think you all know the answer to this.

Ashley_teleportation.gif

Yup, Neeson somehow teleports out of the elevator into the elevator shaft. We see him in the elevator and there's no visible service hatch either. He just teleports. Something that's happened so many times it's practically canon for this movie. Anyway, Stu is headed for the airport with Kim to make his escape. Neeson steals a car and races to catch. Just as Stu's private plane is going down the runway to take off, Neeson rams the front wheel with his car and causes it to crash, obviously killing everyone on board, especially since they weren't wearing seatbelts. No wait, against all semblance of logic, Stu and Kim are fine. Completely unharmed. Stu holds Kim hostage in a standoff pitifully resolved when Kim pushes him away, Neeson shoots him and Stu apparently forgets he's holding a gun. Somehow, the sheer shock of being shot doesn't cause Stu to drop dead and Neeson beats the crap out of him for good measure. He's about to shoot Stu when Kim begs him not to because.............. I don't even care anymore.

Neeson lets Stu get arrested by Forest and promises that, once/if Stu gets out, Neeson will be gunning for him. Rather than just killing him now, I suppose. Forest tells Neeson he knew the latter was innocent all along. Why? Because the bagels Neeson bought at the beginning were still warm. And why would Neeson go out and buy fresh bagels if he was going to immediately kill his wife? The only problem with that sentiment is that Forest never once, throughout the entire movie, brings up the possibility that Neeson is innocent except at the end when it's blatantly obvious Stu did it. Doesn't even hint it. Basically, Forest is lying through his teeth here to cover up the fact that he's a terrible cop.

Anyway, Forest ignores the countless deaths Neeson has caused in his rampage and lets him go. The final scene is Neeson sitting with his daughter and her boyfriend (who's had like one scene in the entire movie) and tells them he supports their wish to have a child. Kim tells Neeson that, if its a girl, they plan to name their daughter after Jean Grey (and will probably have more screentime than her). And that's the end. We don't find what happens to secret service guy, Stu or any other after-effects. It just ends. And I have never seen a packed theatre leave so quickly.

So that's Taken 3. It's shit. Don't go see it.

rukaio101

Hello, good day and welcome to my humble abode. Well, I say humble abode. It's a just a blog. And likely not even one I'm going to use that much. If it was my actual abode, it would probably be an absolute tip. Books, dvds, empty bottles strewn everywhere and a funny smell I can't quite find the source of but continues to drive me mad no matter how much air freshener I spray everywhere and-

*clears throat* Anyway, my poor living habits aside, this blog is basically a dumping ground for whatever takes my fancy. Films, anime/manga, Tv Shows, books, I'll review them all. Or I may doll out some (debatably) useful writing advice or musings. Or I may just go on a massive rant on whatever insignificant thing has gotten me into a mood. The point is, expect anything. Except quality. Or good taste. Or a consistent release schedule.

Anyway, for my first review on this blog, I thought I'd look at something we all know and love. Then I thought 'Wait a minute'. If it's something we all know and love, then what's the point in reviewing it? We all know what it is and we all know what we're going to think about it. So if we all know what we're going to think about then we all know what I think of it and therefore there's no point in me writing it down since we all know what it is. I then took another shot of whiskey to quiet the ringing pain in my head.

So, as an elegant solution, I decided I would review a series barely anybody knows, but I really love. And that series is... Kingdom

Warning: There are some pretty NSFW images below. If you're particularly squeamish about gore, blood and people with pointy teeth, you may not want to read on.

Kingdom

Kingdom_volume_1.jpg

Kingdom is a Weekly Manga series by Yasuhisa Hara. It debuted in 2006 and, to date, over 400 chapters have been released. I ploughed through them all in less than a week. Oh yes. It is a fictionalised account of the latter end of the Warring States period (475 - 221 BC) in Chinese History. The series follows a young orphan boy, Xin. Xin and his childhood friend, Piao, dream of growing up, making their way through the army and eventually becoming Generals. One day, Piao is taken to the Royal Palace by a minister, leaving Xin alone. A few months later, one fateful night, Piao returns mortally wounded (because he's a childhood best friend. Of course he's going to die) and instructs Xin to go to a hidden shack in a near town. Xin arrives to find a boy inside who is almost identical to Piao. The boy, Ying Zheng is the current king of China and is in hiding after a coup lead by his younger brother (which caused Piao (Ying's body double) to be killed). Ying asks Xin to help him regain his throne. And, after that, to aid him in his ultimate goal. The unification of China.

EN-WarringStatesAll260BCE.jpg

Seems easy enough. Where's my Risk board?

Okay, I know what you're thinking. That all sounds rather basic, right? The deposed royal asks the aid of a regular person (who turns out to have more skill/power than meets the eye) to help him regain his kingdom. Seen it plenty of times before. And you'd be right. But that storyline only lasts the first arc. The second is where things really start getting good. Because that's where we replace small personal battles with full on warfare and the series moves from an enjoyable if basic action series to an intense, interesting ride with a large cast of colourful and memorable characters.

500px-Duke_Hyou_Army_portrait.png

Like this friendly chap. Presumably, he's the great great great great grandfather of Jaws.

And, to be honest, if I had to pick the defining characteristic of Kingdom, it would be the large scale battles. These aren't the typical 'throw troops at each other until one side dies' battles you usually see in Hollywood movies. These are actual tactical showdowns with two sides trying to outsmart and outmanoeuvre each other with genuinely realistic and fascinating tactics. (At least, I assume they're realistic. I haven't really looked them up, but I'd be really surprised if they weren't accurate to the time period). It's the sort of series where I felt I really learnt a lot in addition to having a great time. In particular, the back and forth between the two sides is absolutely incredible. Aside from a few select cases, I genuinely couldn't tell you who was going to win each encounter until the very last chip had been played. And, we get perfect balance of tactics (with the Generals overseeing the action) and action, as Xin and his friends attempt to fight through the heaving bulk of armies and soldiers to achieve whatever their objective is. The pacing is top notch and leaves you nearly constantly wanting to know what happens next. And the battles feels sufficiently epic and large in scale as they should. Also, the art is absolutely fantastic. Admittedly, I do make fun of some of the more gonkish character designs, like the picture above, but they do really help you tell the characters apart and make them recognisable. But the really good art comes in the battle scenes. Thousands and thousands of troops all heaving and fighting against each other. Dismemberments, decapitations, blood everywhere, it looks fantastic.

Moubu_kills_giants.PNG

Although, it still looks somewhat tame compared to the crowds at Black Friday.

One thing I do have to say though is that this is very much a Shonen manga and holds many of the tropes you'd often find in that sort of series. So you've often got people acting as near one-man armies (although they keep it somewhat in moderation), our main character shrugging off near fatal wounds and forcing himself back to his feet through sheer willpower. The sort of stuff, you'd often see in Shonen manga yet may seem bizarre to unfamiliar viewers. Also, it does kind of knock against the whole realistic warfare thing the series has going when you have Generals riding into battle plowing aside anyone in their way (although that sort of behaviour tends to be restricted to a select few and they are more than good enough to justify it). Also, it's not particularly the sort of series that will often sit down and talk about how dark or depressing war is like, say, Fury. Sure, sometimes it delves into the darker sides of war to good effect, but it generally tends to almost glorify it, something that I'm of a mixed mind about. But, in the end, this is a manga designed to entertain rather than lecture. And my god it does a fantastic job of that. I haven't even scratched the surface of why I like this series so much. Mostly because I don't want to spoil a lot of the twists and turns going into the series. This is very much something you want to go into blind. Heck, even knowing who's going to win/lose a certain battle takes a bit of the edge off and reduces the tension. So I've tried to avoid even the slightest spoilers.

kingdom-1434653.jpg

Except for Piao. Piao dies. Piao dies really quickly.

To sum up, this is a fantastic series, even for those who may not be the biggest fans of battle manga. It's intense, informative, amazingly well drawn and has a fully realised world and large cast of memorable characters. Admittedly, being over 400 chapters and still going strong means it's one hell of a long read, but I think it's more than worth it.

Sign in to follow this  


×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines. Feel free to read our Privacy Policy as well.