Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a step up which would eventually lead to Justice League. Seeing the iconic trinity of DC sharing the silver screen itself was worth the wait. Keeping the tone of the story grim & dark, Zack Snyder has made it very similar to his earlier take on Alan Moore’s legendary graphic novel Watchmen. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has been one of the best onscreen adaptation of superhero eccentric but it was not entirely faithful to comic book genre. Much of the story was reformed for grounding it to realism so that main stream audience could relate under the pretext of modern day extremism.

Plot: The new chapter in this story arc introduces us to the legacy of Bruce Wayne’s origin as Batman in a quick snippet. Fast track eighteen months from the aftermath of Man of Steel, we see a world with divided opinions on the existence of Superman; while some sees him as a savior others question his very presence, leading to countless debates at political & social circuits. As the world tries to cope in understanding what sort of hero it truly needs, LexCorp’s business magnate Lex Luthor manipulates Superman by pitting him against Gotham’s very own vigilante Batman for nefarious reasons.

This movie sets the premise for the upcoming Justice League, though at times it felt that it could have been addressed more coherently. General audience not familiar with the source material may have some issues as too many easter eggs & reference to league has been laid down. Some shortcomings in the story is however rewarded with startling visuals. Snyder’s hallmark is evident in some of the scenes which are simply awe inspiring. The plot has its genesis from two of the iconic graphic novels ever written The Dark Knight Returns & The Death of Superman. Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL soundtrack composition has a different feel, something which we are not used to. It nets well with the movie however, as a standalone track there is crave for more lucid touch.

Castings bring forth some fresh faces to the existing troupe, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. With new rules set in this DC Extended Universe, Ben Affleck not only excels as Bruce Wayne but he is righteously the definitive Batman ever to put up on big screen. Even with less screen time, Gal Gadot shines as the Amazon Warrior Wonder Woman during her climactic battle with Doomsday. Jesse Eisenberg’s take on narcissistic Lex Luthor was quite different than what we have read in comic books, though the reason for his psychotic obsession for destroying Superman was kept fuzzy, I hope when the ultimate extended R version gets released for home it would give some more insight behind his motivation.

Final Verdict: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a pure comic book movie; it’s not chef-d'oeuvre but a commendable boost to accelerate the much awaited Justice League. Watch this to institute your own opinion.

My Rating: 8/10

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Age of Ultron is not only a step up from an already established decade old Marvel franchise, it’s also an example of how well a story can house numerous heroes within the same realm without making it mundane. Joss Whedon has yet again proved that he not only loves & understands the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also knows on how to put good use of each & every character with an evocative drive.

The plot centers on Tony Stark/Iron Man’s ploy in establishing a program that would warrant world peace involving amplified artificial intelligence; however it backfires, thus leading to evolution of the main antagonist Ultron, forcing the world’s mightiest heroes to team up once more to faceoff the new nightmare.

Ultron may lack the charisma of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki but the voice over by James Spader has made the character quite intimidating & menacing. Like the prior installments there have been moments of humor, however this time the story has been given a darker note keeping it akin to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The action sequences are phenomenal, something which we now are acquainted with & expect nothing short of spectacular from such franchise. Wait till you see the fight between Bruce Banner/Hulk & Tony Stark in his new suite Hulk buster - Veronica. The ideological conflict between Steve Rogers/Captain America & Stark has been explored a bit more which we know will lead to the premise for upcoming Captain America: Civil War.

Godzilla duo Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen joins the Avengers as the experimental miracle twins Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch, definitely a worthy entry however it’s Paul Bettany’s Vision which stands out as an unforeseen surprise. There has been some ester eggs giving inkling to the upcoming films like Infinity War.  

Age of Ultron is a worthy successor, keeping true to the Marvel Universe both in tone & heart. The story offers some unexpected twists making this grandeur a must watch at the theaters. 

My Rating: 7/10

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Man of Steel (2013) - Reminisce

Being a staunch Batman fan, reviewing ‘Man of Steel’ from that perspective is fairly different. Zack Snyder’s take on Clark Kent’s alter ego had definitely set huge reactions from the fandom. Many loved it while many equally hated it. Frankly, I prized it & contemplate this adaptation to be best version of Superman’s origin story till date.

It does not make much sense to equate it with Richard Donner’s Superman - 1978. Nolan’s success with cape crusader’s trilogy helped in pitching the idea to Warner Brothers, on reinventing Superman for contemporary audience; a rational move undeniably.

First twenty minutes show casing the homeland - Krypton of Superman is not only captivating but visually ambitious. This is the first time we have ever seen the origin on silver screen in such details. Digital Studio Weta Digital did a commendable job in enhancing the alien planet’s flora & fauna. In literary world there had been various iteration of Superman; however in recent times the stories have become much more modernized to fit today’s world. Snyder’s version of Kal-El has traces of genesis from J. Michael Straczynski graphic novel Superman: Earth One series. Some segment of the plot also felt familiar to Mark Waid’s Birthright.

Man of Steel is intense, visceral & certainly exciting to watch. Does that mean this movie had no flaw of its own? Of course not, there were some aspects which looked a bit rushed. This implies to some of the characters brought in within the story arch. Many have criticized for bringing out the character of Kal-El in darker tone however we should bear in mind that even though Superman has always been considered as the most powerful superhero, he is also emotionally vulnerable.

Just like ‘Batman Begins’, the childhood of Superman is conveyed through flashbacks, which without reservations must say had been the niftiest move. Snyder has laid the foundation in a way which will open up future DC cinematic universe quite akin to what Marvel has previously done with their Avenger franchise. Keeping General Zod as the primary nemesis helped in rendering the conflict in a well-adjusted style, tying up the plot with certain manner.

Snyder has always been known as the visual director & his hallmark is evident all through the movie. Whether you like it or not, this movie has enough action set pieces to make your jaw drop. The power of superman has never been exploited to such magnitude; however at times it felt a bit stretched but never felt mundane. Henry Cavill caped the role of Kal-El/Superman as anticipated but it was Kevin Costner & Russell Crowe who nailed their respective roles as father figure to Kal-El. Another strong feature about this movie is Hans Zimmer’s epic music composition which took this movie to a whole new level.

Superman’s story is meant for everyone, this is a timeless story.