Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Spoiler Free Review

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a good Batman movie, a decent Superman movie and a befuddling Justice League movie.

This film is the first to star the caped crusader since 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” by Christopher Nolan. Despite being only four years removed, this new Batman chronology is completely isolated from the Nolan trilogy.

Noted comic book aficionado Ben Affleck has picked up the cape and cowl to play this iteration of Batman and he steals the show.

Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman tell a story from the first time you see his character.

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He is older, with wisdom spots in his hair, much larger, the biggest Batman we have seen in film to date and his face is full of anguish and pain, which Affleck accentuates perfectly.

Batman is a much more violent, he does not shy away from maiming his enemies and in some cases, leaving them more or less, dead.

Despite being told his origin story for the umpteenth time. I’m curious about what happened to this Bruce Wayne that has made him so cold and bitter to the world around him.

Ben Affleck’s performance is met hand in hand by the performance of his costar, Henry Cavill, who plays Clark Kent and Superman.

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Cavill does an excellent job at showing emotion despite being an omnipotent alien. This is extremely evident in one particular scene close to the midway point of the film.

In this scene Cavill’s acting shines as we find Superman in his most emotionally vulnerable state yet.

Director Scott Snyder has garnered my attention with Clark Kent since “Man of Steel” in 2013.

“Dawn of Justice” is no exception, the scenes with Kent and Amy Adam’s Lois Lane did not come off forced and were genuinely charming.

Unfortunately, when Kent switched into the cape everything changed for their relationship and this movie.

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Lane was relegated to nothing more than a damsel in distress. I understand that’s how it works, Lane gets in trouble and Superman saves her, but she was seconds away from death from what I counted, three times in this movie.

Instead of building their relationship, which they did perfectly in the Kent scenes, it just came off as a lazy way to explain why Superman was or was not here.

Other than these three, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor had the most screen time.

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Eisenberg was trying a different approach as the villainous Luthor and it did not work. It felt like Eisenberg watched “The Dark Knight” and took notes on Heath Ledger’s method of playing a villain.

There’s nothing wrong with that, as Ledger’s Joker is one of the most iconic villains ever, but I don’t feel like it hit the right notes with Eisenberg and just came across as a poor duplicate.

Eisenberg stammered and fumbled through a lot of his dialogue, which helped get Luthor’s kookiness across, but it quickly got old, especially when his dialogue resulted in nothing worthwhile.

The starting and stopping of Luthor’s dialogue was matched by the editing of the film as a whole.

Too many cuts and fades to black made this two and a half hour watch feel even longer.

This was matched with a soundtrack that rose and sharply cut, which built great suspense and great cliffhangers. The unfortunate thing is that this happened way too many times and by the end of the movie it almost felt comical as it continued.

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The diverse soundtrack added to the jarring effect, especially when Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman took the screen. Her Amazonian theme did not match that of the movie and felt pasted together, which can be said about the role of Wonder Woman in this movie altogether.

While watching “Dawn of Justice,” I began to wonder how much better it would be as a television series. The cliffhangers would actually have weight and a full season would be able to give all the storylines adequate time to make them feel important.

Ultimately, that is the biggest offender in this film: It has too much going on.

“Dawn of Justice” is the groundwork for a franchise that is already confirmed to have nine movies released in the next four years, including two direct sequels.

It felt like Warner Brothers wanted to throw small teasers in this movie to promote all of those upcoming releases.

In the end I exited the theater with a lot of unanswered questions.

The teases and implications “Dawn of Justice” rolled out left me excited to get more but disappointed with what I got. It’s a solid movie that is carried by its strong lead performances and interesting characters but once you get past the two main attractions, there is very little there for the time being.

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Spoiler Free) Review

Let me begin by saying that I have never been a huge Star Wars fan. I never gave in to the culture and fandom it spawned. Sure, lightsabers are cool, Darth Vader is legendary, Yoda is pretty neat, but overall, the movies just never did anything for me.

The announcement of the new movie and hype leading up to its release I met with indifference.

Since I knew I would watch it when it came out with my friends, I decided to try and make the most of it… So I did not watch any trailers or teasers and tried my best to avoid any type of information about the film until I went and watched it (great idea by the way, you should try it).

That said…

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is a spectacle.

Seeing “STAR WARS” blast on the theater screen with the trademark theme blasting made me feel like I was witnessing something special.

I’ll keep this somewhat brief, because I don’t want to give away too much.

The Force Awakens is a true space adventure, unlike any space movie I’ve seen in recent years. The worlds and creatures are imaginative and fun to witness.

The main characters in the film are all interesting and each offer a story that left me wanting to know more.

The performances are all spot on, as well. Which is remarkable considering I’ve never heard of a large majority of this cast.

My complaint about The Force Awakens is that is a bit too parallel to Episode IV: A New Hope.

I want to call The Force Awakens formulaic, and in the grand scheme of things, it very well may be, but it throws enough monkey wrenches to make things feel fresh.

The formulaic nature makes it feel predictable, then 1/3 through the movie this happens, which left me saying “Oh… okay.”

The Force Awakens is the introductory movie in a brand new trilogy in every sense. You’re gonna meet a lot of people. You’re gonna have a lot of unanswered questions. 

I am concerned that with two more movies in this trilogy already confirmed, and a spin off movie coming next year, this special feeling will stop being special, and become commonplace.

Regardless, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens lays foundation for what is to come, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Quick note: If you’ve had the movie “spoiled” for you, don’t worry. There is no one, end all, be all spoiler for this movie. The only way I could see a spoiler ruining the movie is if you were told the entire plot. So go see it anyways.

Jurassic World Spoiler-Free Review

Let me begin by saying I had originally planned on watching the Jurassic Park trilogy before watching this latest installment, and honestly, didn’t even plan on typing up a review.  Then I read the reviews for Jurassic World.  It seemed like almost every review I read insisted on comparing Jurassic World to the original masterpiece, Jurassic Park.  I thought that was unfair.  So I wanted to offer a different perspective and give Jurassic World a fair shake.  I definitely do have nostalgia regarding the original film, but it has been years since I’ve last seen it in full.  Sure, I have a few scenes from it memorized, but the movie isn’t freshly on my mind and wasn’t while I was watching Jurassic World.

Let’s start with the good.  The moment I saw the attraction that is Jurassic World, I felt like I was part of something really special.  The island looked stunning, and the more of it they showed, the more I wished it was real and I could go.  I can’t remember a movie setting more engrossing in recent memory than that of Jurassic World.  The entire island felt alive and not too far-fetched, as it made great use of technology that made me think, “Okay, I could see that happening.”

The score played a huge role in the movie and added to the captivation of the island.  It added to that feeling of being a part of something special, and helped me feel like I was there.

Going into the movie I was quite uncertain about Chris Pratt in a serious role, as I thought the trailers portrayed him.  I’m glad to say that his character wasn’t as serious as I thought it would be, as he managed to work his charm into a few scenes.  He made a really great main character, and was easy to get behind and root for.

That flows perfectly into the not so good of the movie.

Bryce Dallas Howard.  Along with my uncertainties with Chris Pratt, I felt the same thing with Bryce Dallas Howard.  Where Pratt knocked the ball out of the park, Howard was in the wrong stadium altogether.  She felt out of place the entire movie, and judging from her delivery, sounded like it as well.  I can’t place the entire blame on her though, as her character, Claire Dearing, was the pits.  She was the antithesis of Pratt’s Owen Grady.  The first scene she’s featured in, she comes off as unlikable, and she never rebounded from that for me.  As a main character she felt hollow and questionable, with way too many “why?” moments.

Howard wasn’t the only one to be plagued by a poor character, as I found nearly every character in the movie to be unlikable.  The only tolerable characters were Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Barry (Omar Sy), and Lowery (Jake Johnson).  The latter two being scarcely used throughout the film, mostly as vessels for vague exposition and comic relief, respectively.  I know a movie is supposed to have “bad guys,” but in Jurassic World, it was never made clear.  While I was watching it I thought, “Okay so there’s the bad guy, wait no that’s the bad guy. Oh, here’s the bad guy.”  The antagonist debacle was very poorly slopped together and I wish they would have scrapped it in favor of relying on the dinosaurs as foils. On top of that, when there is finally a clear antagonist, his motive and origin is a mystery, and not a good one.  The character was not properly explained or justified, and it left me saying “yeah, okay, I guess.”

The movie featured so many generic tropes that brought it down.  The young child who just so happened to be incredibly intelligent.  The older teenage brother with a devil-may-care attitude.  The mad scientist who did his own thing.  The greedy, selfish mogul who only cared about making a buck.

Then there are parts that are just silly.  Bryce Dallas Howard manages to make it through the entire movie, running from gigantic dinosaurs while wearing a skirt and high heels.  It wouldn’t bug me so much, but at one point, Owen Grady mentioned her trekking through the woods in high heels, only for it to be ignored completely.

This sort of incoherency continued as the film went on, but I’ll avoid explaining it for risk of spoilers.

The amount of product placement rivals any Michael Bay movie I have seen, and may have shown up more than dinosaurs actually did in the film.

Generic tropes, head-scratching and horrendous characters withstanding, I feel like Jurassic World should be experienced at least once.  So long as you turn off your brain and try to enjoy it for what it is, a summer popcorn flick.  A let-down at that, especially when placed during a fantastic summer that has given us Age of Ultron and Mad Max, but if you’re itching for a big dumb movie to take you on a ride, it will get the job done.

★★½

+ Chris Pratt’s wonderful performance.

+ The unforgettable and riveting setting.

Nearly every character in the movie.

The need for an antagonist that is not 50 feet.

Generic blandness and fallacies that should not occur.