Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.

And, I’m just going to go ahead and say it, I really enjoyed this movie. I think it’s exciting, well-acted, and well-shot. On top of that, if you’re a fan of comic books, or the Justice League animated series, you’re going to have the biggest orgasm ever at the sight of the holy trinity–Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman–finally teaming up on the big screen. I’m really hoping that, despite all the negative reviews this movie has gotten, it’ll make enough money for Warner Brothers to Green Light the rest of the movies in the DC Cinematic Universe. I want there to be a Wonder Woman movie. I want there to be a Flash movie. I want to see the Justice League make their cinematic debut. And, if the jam-packed theater I was sitting in tonight indicates anything, it’s that, all of those dreams just might come true.

Now, with all that said, I’ll be the first to admit that this movie has problems. Most of them are story-related. Others have to do with certain choices the filmmakers made with regards to representing these characters. But, if you ask me, the biggest problem with Batman V Superman is that it doesn’t seem certain of what kind of movie it wants to be. Sometimes it comes off as a very mature, very thoughtful political thriller, just with superheroes in it. Other times, it feels like a great big sci-fi spectacle, full of explosions and wanton property damage. And then, at other points, it seems like you’re watching an artsy indie film directed by Terrence Mallick, or Hou Hsiao-Hsien. A fine example of this latter phenomenon is the first five minutes of the movie. In them, we’re given Batman’s origins. We see the Waynes getting murdered, and young Bruce running away from their funeral, only to fall into a cave full of bats. On top of lasting way too long (thank you, slow motion), and looking far too much like the first five minutes of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, this scene is accompanied by some very melodramatic, very nonsensical sounding narration. The first line Bruce Wayne speaks in this film is something like, “There was a time before: a time above.” The hell does that mean? What does that have to do with, well, anything? I certainly don’t know, and I don’t think the filmmakers do either, because this whole opening narration never gets touched upon again.

Also, like its predecessor, Man Of Steel, this movie doesn’t seem to realize that what made these characters interesting was their moral code. Why would someone who could, very easily, conquer the whole Earth, choose not to? Why would he refrain from using his powers to bully others? Why would a man who witnessed his parents get murdered right in front of him, and who constantly gets tortured by sadistic serial killer clowns, not become a madman himself? Because they knew that that was the right thing to do, and that that fact alone was enough of a reason. All of that nuance, that moral complexity, is absent from this movie. Batman uses guns here. He kills LOTS of people. Same with Superman. He snapped General Zod’s neck in Man Of Steel, and stabs Doomsday to death in this one. If you’re a comic fan, and the idea of witnessing your heroes perform that level of violence bothers you, don’t go see this movie. It’ll probably traumatize you. Honestly, as I was watching this film, especially the Batman bits, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Frank Miller’s universally-reviled All-Star Batman And Robin series, in which the Dark Knight is a narcissistic, violence-loving asshole, who calls children “retarded,” and forces them to eat rats. Hell, the book’s most infamous line, “I’m the Goddamn Batman,” actually makes its way into this movie. I really don’t know how to feel about any film that gives homage to ASBAR.

But, all that aside, I did actually enjoy this movie. Yeah, some of the writing is bad, and yeah, it’s probably more violent than it should be, but it’s still well-acted, well-shot, and super exciting. And, more so than this, I want to see the other movies in the DC Cinematic Universe. I want to see Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern Corps. I want to see other artists, besides Zack Snyder, give us their interpretations of this material. There’s a lot of potential here, and I really hope audiences will let filmmakers unlock it by going to see this movie.

So, at the end of the day, though it does have flaws, I’d say that Batman V Superman is still a 7 out of 10. Please, please, please, go see it.

Young Justice (TV Review)

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.

You ever heard the expression “jumping the shark?” In case you haven’t, it’s an idiom used to describe the moment when a brand, design, franchise, or creative effort begins to decline in quality. The saying originated with the sitcom Happy Days, in an episode where a character jumped over a shark while on a pair of water skis. This moment was a drastic shift from the show’s previously established tone and formula, and many people saw it as a sign of desperation on the writers’ part to keep viewers interested. But, here’s the thing. Happy Days had been on for five seasons by the time it “jumped the shark.” In all likelihood, the writers had run out of ideas by that time, and were at a loss for new ways to keep audience’s engaged. There, at least, they had an excuse for why they went silly. Other properties, by contrast, aren’t on for as long, and therefore don’t have as forgivable reasons for going bad as Happy Days. Just look at the subject of today’s review, Young Justice.

For those of you who don’t know, Young Justice is an animated TV series that ran for two seasons back in 2010. It’s basic premise is that the sidekicks of the DC Universe–Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad–have gotten tired of playing second fiddle to their adult counterparts–Batman, Flash, Aquaman–and have therefore decided to form their own team. They do so, and pick up three more members–Superboy, Artemis, Miss Martian–along the way. They then go on various missions, and have numerous run-ins with a criminal organization known as “The Light.”

The first season is simplistic, but highly entertaining, and holds an undeniable amount of charm. Because it’s a teen show, most of the drama derives from love triangles, secret crushes, and adolescent needs to get older people’s approval. But it never once feels as though it’s pandering to that demographic. There’s a fair amount of adult humor in this series, like a moment when the character Artemis says she feels naked, and “not in a good way.” And the characters themselves are very well realized. Every one of them has at least one episode devoted to their ark or backstory, and you see them grow and mature as the series progresses. To put it in basic terms, by virtue of simply being a teen superhero show, the first season of Young Justice isn’t for everyone. But, for what it is, it’s still highly entertaining.

The second season, by contrast, is everything that the first one isn’t, and not in a good way. Whereas the first season consists primarily of self-contained episodes, the second season is nothing more than a series of interrelated chapters. You don’t know what the hell’s happening unless you watch everything from the start. On top of this, whereas the first season has a relatively small number of protagonists, all of whom you get to see grow and develop as the series progresses, the second season dumps a whole lot of new characters on you–like Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, Wonder Girl, Bat Girl, Bumblebee, and Red Robin–none of whom you really get to know that well, or see mature. But perhaps worst of all, the second season drastically shifts its genre. The first season was a straight forward teen superhero show. You saw the protagonists go on adventures, fight bad guys, and so on. The second season, by contrast, is an overly convoluted sci-fi invasion thriller, which steals conventions and plot lines from franchises like The Terminator, V, and The Thing. You’ve got Aliens dressing up like people to steal our tech, evil organizations looking to harvest human beings and implant them with superpowers, dudes traveling back in time to prevent the apocalypse, and alien species coming to Earth, pretending to be friendly, but really wanting to subjugate us. It’s a mess.

And that’s disappointing to me. Because I really loved the first season of the show, and wanted to recommend it to you all. It’s animation is beautiful, the voice acting is good, and the writing, at least for the first season, is very strong. But, alas, because the second season is so bad, and the first season ends on a cliffhanger that requires you watch the next season, I can’t recommend it. I’m not going to give the show a number grade, because it’s a total mixed bag, but I think you get that I didn’t like where it went. Ah, well. Can’t have everything, I suppose.