Friday, 25 March 2016

REVIEW: BATMAN v SUPERMAN-DAWN OF JUSTICE

3.5/5

This Is Legend.

153 Minutes. Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter, Laurence Fishburne & Jeremy Irons. Director: Zack Snyder.

WOO! The 'Fresh Prince' saw it first. Ha..HA! Almost a decade back in 2007, in an apocalyptic new world. Amongst a deserted New York City's Times Square. Once the most popular, visited, neon entertainment core of the waking world now overgrown with Poison Ivy and just populated by one man and his dog...and whatever monsters-whether they be vampires or zombies-that lurk in the shadows of a power cut Manhattan. No you haven't missed something...or an episode. Looking up to those famous billboards in his own blockbuster banner movie moment with 'I Am Legend', Will Smith sees two symbols almost as famous as the most marketable, blockbuster Hollywood star was back then. The Bat signal and Superman's symbol of hope. Super-imposed together in what looks like the superhero movie showdown and cinematic event of the ages. The David and Goliath, Schwarzegger and Stallone of the comic-book world. The Dylan and Springsteen. Lakers and Celtics. Magic and Bird. Only a year after Smith himself turned down the chance to play supes as Christopher Reeve lookalike Brandon Routh (now DC's Atom) didn't garner the Daily Planet review returns he would have liked despite a heart of a hero performance. But this picture? If only right? Naysayers were Kryptonite to these DC Comics and potential detective conflicts. Not letting the dark sides of comics see the light of the fun-hearted Stan Lee team that started to become a real Marvel in an Avenging decade following the desperation of selling the rights to their family name and top teams from the Fantastic Four to the X-Men to stop the bailiffs from raiding the Baxter Building and the academy for gifted youngsters. Fast forward almost a decade later and Christopher Nolan's definitive and dominant 'Dark Knight' trilogy and standout performances from the likes of Heath Ledger, Tom Hardy and Bruce Wayne himself Christian Bale does more than level the playing field, opening a new world for Henry Cavill's 'Man Of Steel'. Back then fresh off a new Academy, directorial turn from 'Gone Baby Gone' to 'The Town' and the Oscar winning 'Argo', Ben Affleck was offered the chance to direct this movie. Few knowing that he had actually played Superman before himself...or Clark Kent actor George Reeves in the movie 'Hollywoodland'. Like a long haired Nicolas Cage you can Google this man in tights. Still, despite all this Affleck turned down the opportunity, citing a lack of speical effects experience. Or was it something else? Because ironically a year later Ben was given the chance to say he was Batman. And now in the same week his former Daredevil character gets the second season on Netflix it deserves, Affleck's Bat and Cavill's Kal-el enter the gladitorial arena ready to fight and do battle with the other billionaire playboy vs all red, white and blue hero hope 'Civil War' of Iron Man and Captain America. Lets get it on!

Watch these men. Because '300' immortals couldn't stand up to these two squaring off at each other. City by city in a fight for Metropolis' heart and Gotham's soul as these two famous, fictional cities (no forget the hash-tag campaign, you can't actually fly to these towns with Turkish Airlines...don't book! But what a great commercial idea...you almost wish!) cities are seperated only by a bay...think California's Golden Gate of San Francisco and the now Steph Curry, Golden State Warrior famous Oakland. It's a great idea that really comes together following the earth and business district foundation shattering events of 'Man Of Steel' that continue to an outstanding opening of Wayne manner here, as tense as it is terrific. Yep....town planners beware buildings are about to be levelled again. If 'Transformer' tin can carnage director Michael Bay's actionering style is as subtle as a grenade in the brain migrane, 'Watchmen' comic adapting legend Zack Snyder's is more new world Burton, God's and monsters operatic and epic in the dark tones and textures that bring graphic novels alive on 70mm IMAX screen. More circumstance...but oh so much Xerxes gold ringed, creepy fingers on your shoulders pomp. One particular 'Knightmare' scene and scenario goes down a road of fury that's very 'Mad Max' even without Bane, Tom Hardy. Here borrowing again from graphic novel legend Frank Miller, the man behind '300' men brings the Hulk-Buster like Superman fighting, iron mongered Bat-Suit to show this cowl is no cowering coward in the only way you could do justice to an epic face off, grudge match between these Gods amongst us. Borrowing heavily and cinematically inspiringly from 'The Dark Knight Returns' animated feature...still with of course Nolan's dark productions, offset by a shimmering Zimmer score from the hands of the greatest Hans. Making steroids look like smarties and reducing protein to powder as these two henches trade hands rooftop to rooftop. But like Cap and Stark who will win? Which side are you on? In the red and blue corner the Man Of Steel, Superman is back and better than ever. But with even more bruised soul than new hope. We'd like to see the great Brit Henry Cavill bring some of that spy and play hard charm and charisma from 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and nail his supped up supes like he does the dynamics of that Clark Kent alter-ego. Because this illegal alien, Englishman in Gotham is no longer standing on his own...next to this God made to look like a Christ like figure, saving the world from its greatest disasters is someone whose about to show him and us what it means to be a man. Na, na, na, na, na, na critics! Ben Affleck is a brilliant Batman in the closest thing to the comics closet costume. Greying in more ways than one he's an even better Bruce Wayne. Older, maybe wiser, but a hell of a lot more world worn and weary as this billionaire playboy finds reclusive solace in his man cave. Until the iconic Bat haunted by some noirish nightmares flys from the dark depths all the way to his Batplane and awesome Batmobile, as the greatest detective since Sherlock Holmes has all the James Bond toys and gadgets. He even pulls off an Adam Sandler and brings one of his friends from 'Argo' and 'Gone Girl', Scoot McCnairy (no that is not Casey Affleck) along for the ride again. From his first bat hung scene that bears the best symbolic fruit, to a goon 'Arkham Knight' like video game homage take down that crazily may just be the best fight scene in the whole movie, Affleck puts himself there with Bale (you can ignore that fan theory thesis now with a Deathstroke of a crossing off pen), Keaton and of course 60's West as one of the best Batmen. KAPOW! SOCK! Sorry Kilmer and Clooney. Take that...haters!

Or this! It's not just the men on fire up in arms. In a Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and Jessica Jones world that is desperate for a real female superhero like Captain Marvel we finally have one in a spinning turn around to the most iconic. Our woman Gal Gadot is a wonder as Diana Prince and whip and shield almost steals the show from the Batflek best thing about this 'Dawn Of Justice', 'Batman v Superman' dukes up. Even when she's not in the Xena Warrior Princess regalia, Gadot's dresses and catwalk suit have gold clasps and accents that are just so Wonder Woman. Now we can't wait for the last season of her back B.C. (before Cap time) solo movie...or D.C.'s own Justice League assemble as this dawn gives us some classic cameos. From Ray Fisher's android app Cyborg, Jason Mamoa's Aerial depth, 'call Aquaman a p#### now' and a Flash of Ezra Miller running through your mind so much he beats the sheep to your dreams. Count the perks of being a JLA member...more time in the weight room. Still the luminous Green Lantern luminary or his corps are on a radioactive milk carton here like the Robin Joke killing Easter Egg here this Good Friday. Judging from Diana Prince's King it wont be Captain Kirk Chris Pine...or 'Deadpool' fourth and franchise, wall and ball breaking Ryan Reynolds. But what are all these heroes without a real villain? The iconic Joker to be of Suicide Squad's Jared Leto and whoever will answer the call to play the Riddler (???) may be cutting room floor A.W.O.L...but their grafitti isn't...vandals! Still Cera geek come serious actor Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is here and ruthlessly good. No Hackman or Spacey...but no Smallville either as Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg 'Social Network' age meets Joker psychotic era turn is crazily inspired. Those here hoping for a Bryan Cranston cameo twist don't worry (and still you never know...Alexander), this kid breaks all sorts of bad instead and dialogue rules gone rogue and oh so membrane insane. The big bad co-starred by Michael Shannon's corpse for the Doomsday machine with a Zod complex, ultimate villain boss that unfortunatly turns this sensational set up into too much of an overcooked mess. But the broth still tastes good...even if it doesn't leave you completely satisfied, or is really that good for you. A classic...albeit a little too cliched, but well done cliffhanger, 'cat out of the tree" saves that day from critical green rocks. And there's more too from Amy Adams' amazing Lois Lane. Still a headline maker, no gone girl, even if her column doesn't make it to the front page this time. To Laurence Fishburne's Perry Daily Planet editor having the most blue pill ignorant, dish it, take it fun of his post Morpheus 'Matrix' career...even funnier and better than the first. But between Holly Hunter's state of play Senator to 'Wolverine' love interest Tao Okamoto on a comic crossover, who could forget Diane Lane's moving mothering...or the Snyder comic collaborator playing Master Wayne's father (yep you were right...that's him!)? Still its Jeremy Irons' Iron Man like, sleeves rolled up, hands on assistance and brilliant, Bat-banter back and forth that makes him a different but perfect Alfred to Michael Caine's classic British Butler. I'd pay money to see the sequel 'Batbanter vs Pennyworth'. The most genius casting in an all over the place A-list affair (but the best has to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson's second cameo on screens this year...we all know his vogueing was the best thing about 'Zoolander No. 2'...and we actually liked that film tol), that takes more chances than it avoids mistakes. Still God loves a trier...especially if that God lives amongst us. This may not be super, but man is it the dawn of something special. Hey everybody here's a review that doesn't completely witch hunt this movie like that stereotypical angry 'Simpsons' mob. Holy reboot setups there's justice in that Batman. They may not avenge the Marvel 'Civil War', but this D.C. battle is worthy of its own legend. Were there's a Will...there's a way. We'll see another billboard in New York's Times Square again. And there's a victory in that Detective Comics. Cheer up! It's not all a dark night. The 'Dawn' is here! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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