Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

2016, RatPac-Dune Entertainment et al

Justice League is DC Comic's answer to Marvel's Avengers, and as such feels like an also-ran in a race to the bank, as opposed to any effort at serious filmmaking. In DC's first pan-franchise installment, we see that Jack Snyder's style is about as subtle as a wrecking ball. He starts with a vaguely interesting premise—pitting two superheroes against one another—that happen to provide a genuinely intriguing subtext: examining the collateral damage caused by superheroes, and their moral responsibilities to the lives they presumably protect. Unfortunately, any such exploration of these topics is completely drowned out by lurid excess of violence and destruction (we get your point already, Jack), culminating in the senselessly brutal, way-over-the-top titular battle, the outcome of which hingeg on an improbable coincidence with respect to the heroes' mothers. Having said that, I confess to the guilty pleasure of watching said battle unfold—the superhero equivalent of an immovable object being met by an irresistible force. We all knew it was coming anyway, so let's just see how it plays out (but at 151 minutes, it's a long wait).

   

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Justice League

2017, RatPac-Dune Entertainment et al

A film with six lead characters is bound to have issues—although nowhere near as much as one with ten. I'll give the filmmakers credit: it wasn't nearly as confusing as I'd expected, and each character seemed to have a respectable amount of attention paid to them. But director Zack Snyder, who of course made certain that lots of stuff blew up, spent an estimated $300 million to cram ten pounds of pure comic book nonsense into a five-pound boot (making it the second-most costly film so far, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides).

By the way, Ezra Miller was acutely underwhelming as The Flash, whereas Jason Momoa stole the show as Aquaman. Amy Adams (Lois Lane) got to cry, natch, while super-buff Henry Cavill looked as though he'd suffered a botched plastic surgery job thanks to having his moustache digitally removed—at times I didn't even recognize him. That effect needs work, guys.

   

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