We Need to Talk About Justice League

There’s a pivotal moment in Justice League where a weary Bruce Wayne champions Diana to lead the team, not him. The film wants to prove otherwise (THE LEAGUE NEEDS BATMAN). Thing is, the idea isn’t half bad. Wonder Woman is a far more efficient warrior; her steadfastness not only gets the job done, it saves Batman’s life. The film wants its team and its hierarchy, the same way Warner Bros. wants an Avengers-level success (so much so they brought in Joss Whedon). But there is no need for either aside from the machine-churning mentality of the studio blockbuster and a larger, interconnected universe – the new norm in franchise filmmaking. 2017 pushed the superhero into its golden age with stellar entries in the genre, making Justice League the sole casualty of the bunch.  Continue reading

DC Films – Too Big to Fail?

For better or worse, 2016 will go down as the year DC finally kicked off their cinematic universe. Despite being critical whimpers, both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were bona fide box-office bangs, opening to the tune of $166 million and $135 million, respectively. Critics be damned; Warner Bros. is the only franchise studio to see their films open above the $100 million mark. That includes Man of Steel. But success, of course, is measured in the long run. It remains to be seen what kind of legs Suicide Squad will have going into its second and third weekend. That, and the critical decline in DC films so far have put enormous pressure on the next film to be an even bigger hit. Seeing as how WB has been reactively and aggressively tinkering with its own films, perhaps the only thing that can stop the studio is the studio itself, which begs the question: is DC at risk of imploding?  Continue reading

‘Batman v Superman’ Review: Extended Cut Ultimately Doesn’t Do the Film Justice

batman-v-superman-blu-ray-cover-slice-600x200I keep going back to the scene in the desert. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are meeting with a torrential warlord. Olsen takes harmless photos of the interview when Anatoli intervenes. There’s something distinctly meta about this scene. Olsen, a surrogate for director Zack Snyder, and Anatoli, a stand-in for an overbearing studio with an agenda of their own. Anatoli plucks the camera from Olsen, extracts the roll of film and exposes the negative, desecrating the pictures into ruin. Considering Olsen’s doomed fate, I can’t think of a better metaphor that captures the trials that plagued Batman v Superman in the editing suite. Snyder, the idealistic filmmaker, has a vision. But he is beholden to the studio the same way Olsen is beholden to Luthor’s henchman. This gave us the theatrical cut, which Snyder admirably stood by. The Ultimate Edition (the supposed compromise between the studio and Snyder’s original vision) was meant to realign what was supposed to be the greatest fight card in the history of the world. But does a longer movie equate to a better one? Yes and no.  Continue reading