Suicide Squad bringing the funnies? Who cares?

Now, a lot has been made of these additional pick-ups for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. The negative reaction to Batman v Superman’s “gritty reality” spawned numerous internet theories about the reasons for said pick-ups, mainly along the lines of the need to add more humour. Then along came this new trailer:

Whether it brings the funnies or not, I’m still very much looking forward to this one. I like apples and oranges.

Thank you for reading 🙂


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Admirable

There’s a lot of hate out there for Zack Synder and I’m a bit mystified to be honest. Apart from the misstep that was Sucker Punch, I think his body of work to date has been of good quality. Maybe it’s because the first film he helmed was a darling with the horror fashionistas and remaking a “classic” where the zombies can run really fast put their noses out of joint. While some may point to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead as a fascinating treatise on modern society – the zombification of the masses so-to-speak – I’ve watched it again recently and would describe it as “of its time”. The difference between the original and the remake? The remake is a lot more fun.

Batman Vs Superman Worlds Finest

Anyway, he started off on the wrong foot as far as the “geek brigade” were concerned and never recovered. An admirable adaptation of Watchmen was equally derided, so the perceived foundations of a director who adapts established material and produces sub-standard fayre was set.

Which brings us to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by way of Man of Steel. I loved Mr Synder’s Man of Steel and love this follow up. Henry Cavill is perfect in the role of Kal-El, while casting Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/ Batman seemed somewhat left-field, but is a triumph. Words such as “boring” or “failure” or even just plain “bad” have been bandied about but BvS:DoJ is none of those things. And let’s not get into the Marvel vs DC argument – that would be like comparing apples with oranges.

Warner/DC are clearly trying to tap into the level of gravitas lent to the superhero world by way of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, in an attempt to distance themselves from the nudge-nudge-wink-wink world of Marvel – and that’s not a dig either. I’m as much of a Marvel fan as I am DC. The accountability issue of such heroes fighting for the greater good but causing so much collateral damage is clearly valid and one which will also be addressed by Captain America: Civil War – but with more superheroes involved. Substitute Toy Stark and his “team” for Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch and her oversight committee and parallels can surely be drawn.

But this isn’t about “my Dad’s better than your Dad“. Like I said, apples and oranges. Where Marvel got to test the waters with The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man – arguably two lesser characters on a roster of more well known and established offerings – Warner/DC are creating a DC cinematic universe with their two heavy hitters, so there’s a lot more at stake with the fan base. For me, it all worked. Any film which has to deal with giving enough time to a lot of important characters will need to jump around a bit to “please the most people” and BvS handles this with dexterity. I liked the use of musical cues as well – the Man of Steel refrain being a personal highlight – and if I were being ultra-critical I’d have liked to see more of Superman, but once again that’s just a personal thing.

Jessie Eisenberg seems to the relish the role of Lex Luthor Jr., playing him with a nice unhinged edge, while Gal Gadot establishes a good starting point for Wonder Woman and sets us up nicely to look forward to a standalone film in the “near” future (23 June 2017 to be precise). Jeremy Irons lends a sardonic tone to his Alfred Pennyworth – a servant to the Wayne family and “father figure” to Bruce Wayne – and is as close to a moral compass as Batman will encounter in a world of polemics. With Lois Lane getting down-and-dirty, Amy Adams’ diminutive stature belies stoical character traits that just as easily support Clark Kent/ Superman as he does the entire world. This ensemble cast of great talent – including Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane – provide genuine portrayals, ingraining the narrative progression with believability and genuine warmth to the characters they inhabit.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice provides us with the foundations on which this new DC Comics Extended Universe will be built. The jumping-off point for cinematic outings for the likes of Wonder Woman, Aquaman (27th June 2018) and The Flash (16th March 2018), together with a full-blown Justice League film (17th November 2017), we are well on the way to enjoying a superhero universe to (hopefully) rival Marvel’s high quality and well established output. In addition, the prospect of a Ben Affleck directed Batman film, with him in the title role is a mouth-watering one. Don’t be put of by the mainly negative press. This film delivers on a number of levels and is another quality production from Zack Synder, with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill working admirably at the centre of it all.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Batman v Superman Final Trailer

I’ve been onboard this particular train since they first announced it, but for those of you out there who are still to be convinced about this latest offering from Zack Synder, feast your eyes on this wonder of modern trailer-dom!

If that doesn’t peak your interest, I suggest you check for a pulse.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits UK cinema screens on 25th March. I. Can’t. Wait!!!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Superheroes everywhere!

Following on from yesterday’s Suicide Squad post, here’s another entry into the DC Extended Universe. Scheduled for a 25th March release in the US and UK, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (a longer superhero film title would be harder to find) is the follow-up to Man of Steel. Zack Synder is once again at the helm and Henry Cavill will once again be donning the red cape. The major casting coup though, is Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/ Batman.

Following in the wake of Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s Batman could have been seen as a bit of a challenge, but I reckon Mr Synder and Warner Bros. have got the right man for the job. That Mr Affleck is also prepared to direct and star in what some are calling a “Batman reboot” further down the line points to headier times for our Gothan based night dweller. It’s good to see a star of Mr Affleck’s quality committing to such a project and he’s no slouch in the directing department either, picking up critical acclaim for Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo. Here’s a look at one of the trailers.

Oh yes, that is indeed Wonder Woman making an appearance. That’s what the “Dawn of Justice” part of the title alludes to. For those of a non-comic orientation, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are part of the Justice League. Think “Marvel’s Avengers” but with a DC spin – so expect more DC superheroes to be introduced in the future to fill out the Justice League roster.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Timing is…


I don’t really think Warner Bros. were ever going to win with this one. From the stratospheric high of “Chewie, we’re home” we were always going to be a little let down by anything we saw after that. And that anything just so happens to be the Big Push from DC Entertainment/ Warner Bros. to muscle in on the hitherto unchallenged Marvel Cinematic Universe. Take a look.

I like it. You’ve got to have a Yin for every Yang and DC/ Warner are clearly invested in Christopher Nolan’s gritty “realism” of the Dark Knight franchise and all who now fall within the DC realm. There’s no point in going for the brightly coloured, “jokey edge” that’s worked so well for the MCU. You’ve got to be seen to be trying something different and that’s where we are with the DC Universe. OK, so it’s a bit of a come-down from J J’s (hopefully) Lazarus-like resurrection of (almost) everybody’s favourite space-dwelling characters, but I’m sure on any other day most of us would be getting extremely excited for the next chapter in the Dark Knight’s world.

I know Zack Snyder isn’t particularly popular with the fanboys and girls of this world, but I really like his style and was totally invested in his retelling of the Superman story. With Mr. Nolan behind him (a bit like Mr. Whedon at Marvel), gently guiding the DC projects along the path he created with the Dark Knight franchise, I’m sure we’re in for a real treat. So let’s get on board the good train “gritty” and see where it takes us.

And after all that brooding darkness, here’s something to draw you towards the light of happiness. Feast your eyes on a couple of fantastic new one-sheets for Colin Trevorrow’s entry into the world of genetically created dinosaurs. They’re doozies!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Birdman – Perceptive

Birdman banner

Festival buzz for Michael Keaton‘s latest washed across the web last year and whetted the appetite of many a film-goer – myself included. From Leeds to Bath, Venice to Stockholm via New York, it winged its merry way across the globe garnering – on the whole – positive reactions from those cineastes lucky enough to see it. Alejandro González Iñárritu is not a name that trips off the tongue and I must confess this is the first of his films I’ve seen all the way through. I can’t remember why I didn’t watch the whole of 21 Grams and I never got round to watching Babel. I am obviously aware of him as a filmmaker but I’m not drawn to his work. Birdman clearly transcends this; you are aware of it as “that Michael Keaton film” as opposed to “the latest film from Iñárritu“. But that is to take nothing away from the director of this wonderful piece of cinema.

Birdman is not one of those films that stands alone, elevated through a particular performance. It clearly draws those film-goers of an inquisitive nature towards it due to the contribution of a particular individual, but hangs onto them through the process. Its self-referential tone, knowing nods and “industry comments” draw me to comparisons with Robert Altman‘s The Player – but while Mr. Altman’s piece hangs it all out there, Birdman‘s introspection delves deeper. Its (mainly) labyrinthine setting – a Broadway theatre – is demanding Mr. Keaton’s character to hold onto some semblance of awareness; forcing this mechanism upon him to “keep it together” as he attempts his own form of career salvation. How much of this parallels Mr. Keaton’s own career span, post 1989 and 1992’s Batman and Batman Returns would be pure speculation on my part; I have no interest in reading tabloid gossip about an actor’s personal life and/ or trials and tribulations therein. Suffice-to-say, the mere fact that Mr. Keaton the actor and his character in Birdman have this career point in common is enough to add an additional layer of interest upon an already extraordinary film.

B Keaton

Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson as Mel McGinnis

As I’ve already said, this is by no means a one-man-show. All the supporting cast knock it out of the park but particular mention must go to Emma Stone (playing Mr. Keaton’s daughter), Zach Galifianakis (his friend/ lawyer) and Edward Norton. Mr. Iñárritu‘s direction is a wonder to behold, making skilful use of the New York setting. He is clearly invested in the piece and has made me want to revisit/ become acquainted with his previous work. I cannot speak of Birdman highly enough. At times art house darling, at times cutting satire, I’m delighted my enthusiasm for this film was not dulled by its viewing. January is a great time for film-goers. We in the UK behold a cornucopia of cinematic fare as the awards season approaches. Birdman is one such offering and hopefully one or two well-deserved honours will come its way.

Thank you for reading 🙂