Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) Review

RATING: 2.5/5

A team of heroes have to join together to stop the takeover of Earth from a ruthless alien being.

Better than the theatrical version? yes. Everything else? Eh.

Characterizations have improved for certain characters. The best and most notable examples include Cyborg and the Flash. Their backstories were sorely needed in the previous version. Zack did the job right at adding layers to the hollow characters, especially for Cyborg and the strained relationship with his father. I think it was right to see the character’s journey after the fiasco going on behind the scenes regarding the actor Ray Fisher.

When it came to the other characters, they stayed more or less the same. Some characters got a bit more development than their previous iterations. Though honestly if some of them weren’t inserted, nothing much would have changed. The rest of the League get additional scenes and there was moments of good. Sometimes they added necessary context to further expand the world like Wonder Woman telling the historic Darkseid invasion and the Mother Boxes to Batman. Sometimes it was kind of cringe like the awkward moment of Batman and Wonder Woman’s hands accidently touching.

Lois Lane had nice scenes of lamenting her loss of Superman. Steppenwolf, still not that interesting of a villain, but this version seemed more evil and ruthless than the prior. Martian Manhunter was neat to see, but was ultimately pointless. I’m not sure why he had to change into Martha Kent to talk to Lois. Zack could have easily had the real Martha talk to Lois. Superman wearing the black suit was needless. There was no point other than to show it off as cool looking for the audience. Seeing Darkseid’s film debut was pretty cool and I wish Apokolips was seen more. The nightmare scenes in the end were fair. My main problem with it was the production which looked cheap compared to the rest of the movie. Which I’ll talk about more later. The saving grace was the Joker. Jared Leto redeemed itself for sure. His mannerisms and speech felt more joker-esque and no “Suicide Squad” impressions were utilized which was good.

Scenes in the Joss Whedon cut that made one ask questions, were for the most part resolved. The ones I can think of were Batman telling the Flash to save one when confronting Steppenwolf. Instead of one, everyone was saved. When a revived Superman starts walking toward Batman, it isn’t just Wonder Woman, but the rest of the league go in and try to halt him.

Speaking of action, I will say it was improved. The Wonder Woman fight toward the beginning was an exhilarating rush, as to was Batman luring the parademons in his batmobile. The action in the climax was backed up by some very nice and stunning visuals.

As for the effects, they were mixed. There were times one can tell a green screen was used and the CG appeared a little fake. The redesign of Steppenwolf was an interesting take. Definitely more monstrous than the prior. His armor was, again, interesting. I like how unique it was, but at the same time, it seemed like there was too much going on whenever it was vibrating or moving on its own. Going back to the nightmare scenes in the last act, these were easily the worst in terms of the production and effects. Though I guess I can’t be too mean seeing as Zack shot the scenes in his backyard.

Again, Cyborg and the Flash had the best in terms of visuals. Diving into the cyberworld within Cyborg’s mind was cool seeing. The speed scenes with the Flash were nicely done, to which it reached a peak of “2001: A Space Odyssey” vibes in the climax. The Flash running faster than the speed of light was the best visual spectacle in the movie. I loved it whenever the ground or reality itself was reshaping in front of the Flash after each step.

Certain music was really good. The Wonder Woman theme was still a head-banger. I liked the rock theme that played during the first League/Steppenwolf fight. The Flash’s faster than light scene had a big and cinematic-type choir that was great.

Now while there were improvements over the Whedon version, I will have to admit there were things in there I wish were present in here. When it came to the tone, it was suitable. Not as dark and brooding as “Batman V Superman,” but it would have been worth it to include a joke or two from Whedon’s film. For me I actually didn’t mind the exchange of dialogue when Superman was choking Batman. Excluding the cheesy “do you bleed?” line, everything before that I kind of liked. It would have been a neat little tie-in to the conversation between Batman and Joker. But yes, looking back at Whedon, the cheese factor was sometimes a bit much in certain areas. Not overboard, but it did make that film feel tonally off. Zack’s take was somewhat of a medium, though toward the dark latter. There also seemed to be a little more interplay between the members before reviving Superman in there than here.

With everything Zack did to create his version of the JL, ultimately the results were roughly the same as Whedon. In that the story and plot were pretty basic and was predictable in a lot of ways. The dialogue was fixed some, but a lot of it was not made too interesting. Like I said prior, some of the characters do receive more scenes and characterizations, though it came off as basic. The members initially don’t want to join, but over the course of the film they all will eventually ban together to stop the 2D villain. If Zack’s version was released back in 2017, it would have been the same. DC trying too hard to compete with Marvel and squeezing every single hero into one movie where they didn’t have any previous development beforehand.

I will say this, I do have a little respect for Zack. He is a director that I don’t personally like. But after watching this, I do commend him some for working hard to get his version of the JL released for the world. It was a project not only to please fans of his, but also as a tribute to his late daughter. The cover of “Hallelujah” playing in the end credits was heartwarming. So yeah, if you’re a fan of Zack, you’ll definitely love it. For me, the verdict is better, but about the same as Whedon’s; with some new stuff that were cool and well-deserving and new stuff that either wasn’t necessary, pointless, or needed to be better ironed out.

Insta: tk_theater/lone_centric

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Review

RATING: 1.5/5

Two of the biggest superheroes of all time come head-to-head while a real threat lurks in the shadows pulling the strings.

Revisiting this film was something…special.

DISCLAIMER: Ultimate Edition

First and foremost, one felt the 3.5hr duration. The first act ran for way too long, roughly 25-30 minutes at that. Similar to “Wonder Woman 84,” things were happening but a majority of it didn’t mean much to the movie overall. Granted it was a bit more entertaining, with Bruce’s perspective during the climax from “Man of Steel” and his first appearance as Batman. Even so, those two opening scenes, along with the unnecessary scene of the Wayne’s being shot and Superman’s introduction, dragged on for far too long. Just when it seemed like the movie was officially going to start, another scene would play to introduce the hundreds of characters and hundreds of plotlines being thrown in.

Characters, oh boy, where to start. Well I’ll say this, the character I enjoyed the most was Alfred. Jeremy Irons did good at delivering the humor and light-hearted elements. Something that this film sorely needed. A majority of the performances were fine with the dark and bland material given to them. I wanted more life in the dreary mood that totally encompassed the entire film. Granted, I don’t want something too over-the-top or goofy, like Eisenburg’s performance. What a huge miscast this was. Every scene he was in screamed awkwardness and uncomfortableness. Every scene made the movie’s tone flop all over the place. The monkey shirt he wore in his first scene really set the stage for the type of character he was. Easily the worst.

Characterizations took a hard dip. Superman always looked he was about to break into tears with his somber and displeasured expressions. His motivations of wanting to stop Batman throughout the second act don’t make a lick of sense. Especially when he stopped Batman pursuing more dangerous people, yet he doesn’t do anything, he just flies away. Batman treated the destruction of his business tower more seriously than he should of. He’s basically a big brooding brute that doesn’t listen to reason or doesn’t look outside the box and see the good deeds Superman had done after “Man of Steel.” Lois Lane played the typical damsel too many times, to a point of ridiculousness. Her plotline of figuring out Luthor was the one pulling the strings was very predictable. Luthor’s plan of wanting to kill god (Superman), was pretty bland, uninteresting, and his endgame remained to be seen. Doomsday was utilized too early and looked eerily similar to the Abomination from “The Incredible Hulk,” the 2nd MCU film might I add. The parallels between the franchises really stack-up.

As I mentioned prior, the overall tone was too dark and too depressing. The serious acting and some of the serious and/or non-engaging dialogue, made the viewing experience for me, dull and bored. I mean the first time watching it, I didn’t really feel the minutes go by. But after watching it for the second time and watching “WW84,” I can now say the movie looked big, grandiose, and epic, with little substance to back it up. I understand, for the time in 2016, that DC was trying to do something different with its cinematic universe. Still, its a comic-book movie. There needs to be light-hearted material to break up the sad and solemn emotions. The entertainment factor in it was sorely lacking.

The entertainment factor that did work the best were the action scenes involving Batman, particularly the warehouse scene. One definitely felt every hard hit and painful injury. While a majority of the music for me was forgettable, the theme that stood out for me was Wonder Woman’s. I did like the political discussions being presented on how Superman should be perceived by the public. There was a sense of promise for these scenes, but unfortunately, the number of plot holes and ridiculous moments hammered those good aspects to the dirt.

  • Save Martha.
  • Batman becoming friends with Superman in a split second after.
  • Luthor finding Superman’s mother with no explanation.
  • How Zod’s dead body and Luther’s blood was able to create Doomsday?
  • Wayne employees becoming oblivious to danger at the beginning.
  • Lois somehow figuring out the Kryptonite spear is the one thing to kill Doomsday.
  • Batman kills
  • Batman almost knocking out his own tracking device on the truck he was chasing.
  • Luthor entering Zod’s ship with such ease.
  • Superman death’s
  • Justice League member inclusions
  • Etc.

There’s others for sure, but these were the most notable.

Zack sure had a thing for visuals. At times they were nice, but at other times they were excessive. The climax went completely overboard with the effects. To a point where I’m thinking to myself, “out of all the stuff happening and all the things trying to make me care, I just can’t.” I was truly amazed about the lack of emotional resonance being displayed. It was so hollow and bare-bone.

Much like with the first act, the third act dragged on for far too long. The movie felt the need to spend an extra eternity to watch Superman’s funeral from multiple perspectives.

The movie did way too much and it truly impacted the DCEU. It was trying to juggle multiple characters and storylines with little payoff by the end. All in a sorry attempt to compete with Marvel. Thankfully the DCEU have recovered and our doing their own thing for the most part. Hopefully, hopefully in the future, the next crossover movie will be better fleshed out, fun, and more even than the rough, dull, tedious, and bumpy ride that I endured.

Instagram: tk_theater/lone_centric

Youtube: LoneCentric Pictures/Tk Theater Productions

Wonder Woman 84 (2020)

RATING: 1.5/5

Wonder Woman’s journey to discover herself is pressured when a great force comes to show her deepest desires.

Wasn’t much a fan of the first one, but I thought it was decent nonetheless. However its leagues (no pun intended) better than its sequel.

The initial twenty minutes I have to say were a good introduction. There were a good introduction on how things were going downhill when it came to the pacing, narrative, acting, etc. The two intros, including the Themyscira Olympics and the heroic saves by Wonder Woman, dragged for quite a while. I mean I was stunned for how disinterested I was. The Olympics scene felt like it should have been placed in the first movie. Sure it included the one theme/message that will come back toward the end, but the whole scene went on too long. In addition it included a certain Golden Armor that doesn’t pay off greatly in the climax. It looked cool, but honestly it could have been any special Amazonian weapon/artifact and it would have made the same, unimpactful difference. The heroic saves weren’t any better. As it included some pretty bad acting especially from the mall robbers. The movie should have skipped or cut out sections from these scenes.

Continuing on with the acting, it was pretty mixed. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was still good. As too was Chris Pine coming back as Steve Trevor. So the heroes were good, but the villains were a different story. Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord was fine and he certainly did bring some entertainment factor. Because of that there should have been just one antagonist, as opposed to two. Kristen Wiig as Cheetah did alright. Her initial goofy and nerdy personality got old and annoying real fast. Her transformation into a more dominant and fearsome persona wasn’t anything special. Or original in that it took cues from “Batman Returns.” In the long run I didn’t really care for the character. To which I think the movie itself had the same feeling as the character just outright vanished with no mention after the climax. Her goofiness in the scenes discovering her newfound powers didn’t offer a chuckle in the slightest. In fact, a lot of the humor didn’t land. Whether it was from scenes with Cheetah or Steve Trevor being fascinated with the 80s.

In terms of the scope, the sequel looked and felt bigger than its predecessor. I think it boiled down to some really good cinematography and nice, colorful visuals. When the world was falling apart with the abundance of wishes, the movie showcased impressive panning and wide shots, to really capture the magnitude and severity of the situation. Riots broke out, people panicking, looting, nukes flying, it all around madness. The movie brought the feelings of 2020 as a whole in those scenes. Though the bigness didn’t leave much of an impact sadly. A majority of the film felt flat due to the slow pacing, long runtime, and uninteresting dialogue. Situations more or less happened and that was it.

But beyond the chaos, there were other scenes of interest that looked cool. Lord in the climax being the center while a windy vortex encircled him and a scene where Wonder Woman began to fly for the first time. On a visual standpoint, the latter was the one that stood out to me the most. I believe it was the case because it reminded me of “Superman (78).” Colors were sparkling and popping. There was almost a majestic or mythical feel, which made sense considering the background behind the character of Wonder Woman. Unfortunately if one were to look at the context when it related to the film as a whole, it made no sense whatsover. The rest of the visuals sometimes looked awkward. The best example was Wonder Woman running straight at the camera in the chase scene in Egypt. There was a film grain used in some scenes. But for the most part it was pointless as a lot of scenes didn’t have that filter.

Narratively speaking, there were a number of unexplained things or plot holes littered throughout. As I mentioned earlier, after the climax Cheetah, even after reverting back to her human form, was never mentioned again. The unexplained connection between the bank robbers and Lord? Lord finding out about the crystal entirely? Wonder Woman being able to fly so suddenly and not using it for the rest of the DCEU? Cheetah, figuring out Diana’s identity so suddenly? Granted it could be refreshing but it didn’t feel natural in the slightest. Wonder Woman getting weaker? From what I could gather, the crystal was stripping her powers and transferring it to Cheetah. To which I say why does this need to happen? Can’t the crystal duplicate the powers without making Wonder Woman vulnerable. In the climax, how is Lord granting all the wishes with no physical contact as seen prior throughout the film? How is Wonder Woman able to talk to the world with Lord and her lasso as a transmitter? How is Lord not bleeding excessively from the hundreds of wishes? What happened to the crystal after all the wishes were renounced? Why does Steve Trevor need to take over another man’s body to come back?

There were so many plot holes and unexplained things that disrupted the plot. It was also why those things kind of, in some way, ruin some continuity with the rest of the DCEU.

The mid-credits scene featured a cameo from Lynda Carter, which was extremely bitter sweet. Emphasis on bitter because her cameo in this movie truly hurt.

A disappointing sequel and one of the worst, if not the worst of the DCEU films. A few performances were good, some visuals were beautiful, and the cinematography at times was nicely done. A longer runtime doesn’t always make a film feel or look grandiose. It can also lead to a project that can feel dull, flat, and uninteresting by the end. A major misstep and I’m curious of what Wonder Woman 3 will be like. Hopefully, a positive overhaul is enforced.

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Instagram: tk_theater/lonecentricpic

Project Power (2020) Review

power

RATING: 2.5/5

[SPOILERS]

An ex-veteran needs to stop the underground operation of a super-pill which could lead to the disappearance of his daughter.

It had the “power”, no pun intended, to be something more. But unfortunately, it stayed on the safe route.

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