DC Comics

June 9, 2017

Wonder Women

Wonder Woman: Wonderful

PG-13

2017 ‧ Fantasy/Science fiction film ‧ 2h 21m

There isn’t much to say about WB and their DC Movies but when it comes to Wonder Women one thing I will say is…

Wonder Women is a Wonderful film.

WB finally made a real movie. They created something that was enjoyable to watch and not a torture to sit through. A movie that had a beginning, middle and end. Not a over complexed film trying to do something different. (See Suicide Squad a movie that shows everything you shouldn’t do in a movie)

WB went back to the basics and it pays off big time

Gal Gadot is Wonder Women, one that I can not get enough of. When it comes to Justice League the truth for me, and I believe as well as the general public is we aren’t really excited about it. But Gal Gadot has given me more enthusiasm for JL. This is what WB should done. Introduced each character in their own film before Justice League, this was the first and biggest mistake.


Chris Pine does a great job as Steven Trevor. One of Pine’s greatest abilities as a actor is his comedic timing. It works beautifully here that only helps the flow of this movie. Keep in mind this is still a 2hr and 21 minute movie but never did I feel that. Batman v Superman was a different story.

Credit has to be given to Director Patty Jenkins. Jenkins made a great action film that has a solid story line and the best scene in a DC movie to date.

Wonder Women is the first DC movie (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad) from scene to scene that kept my attention locked. I felt emotion on the screen, the last 3 never did that for me. Lets swing over to action. The action in WW is great. The fight sequences are fantastic and this should be the standard from this point further.  

Hey WB pay attention here!

Jenkins directed her first feature length in 2003’s Monster. A movie that Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Now her second film after her TV stint is Wonder Women which at the time of writing this charges toward $420 plus million. Which would be 2017’s 8th biggest movie on 4,165 theater screens.

Which was the lowest…

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was on 4,256

Suicide Squad was on 4,255

Man of Steel was on 4,207

WB this is what you need, continue what you did with Wonder Woman.

July 14, 2014

Comic-Con Sneak Peek: Constantine

DRAWN

 Constantine – Drawn

What? Another comic book property that is being visualized on the small screen? As if all of the big-screen adaptations aren’t enough. I know this review already sounds pessimistic, and why shouldn’t it be, I mean, this is DC/Warner Brothers that we’re talking about here. If you haven’t gotten it by now, this is my take on the forthcoming TV adaptation of DC/Vertigo’s cult comic book series “Constantine”. And while I’m not the biggest fan, and maybe the 2005 film version kind-of-sort-of ruined it for me, I’m strangely drawn to the show, and this is only the pilot.

A little history lesson first; “Constantine” was created back in the 1980s by comic book legend/cranky old weird man, Alan Moore, who I’m sure has already condemned this show. John Constantine is a chain-smoking, hard living, cynical exorcist who has been condemned to Hell. He’s kind of like Beetlejuice in some ways.

In the pilot episode we find John residing in an mental institution after a botched exorcism that leaves a young girl names Astra dead and banished to Hell. He soon meets a girl named Liv Aberdine who is connected with John’s past and is hunted by a growing threat from Hell. If you can’t tell by now, there is a lot of Hell-related activity in this show.

Putting this out there; I’m not an avid reader of “Hellblazer” and don’t know all that much about the exploits of John Constantine in the comics. I really only have the film that featured Keanu Reeves in the starring role to fall back on, so excuse me if my knowledge might be lacking, but if I was to simply judge the show on it’s own merits, and as a completely impartial viewer who has little stake as a fanboy, I would say that “Constantine” has a bright future. Much in the vein of “Grimm,” another NBC mainstay that garnishes decent ratings in a horrible time slot on Friday night, I believe that NBC has a winner on their hands.

Albeit a rabid fanbase, “Constantine” is still a rather fringy property, much like many of Vertigo’s comic book titles. Yes, we have the possible “Sandman” adaptation with Joseph Gordon Levitt’s involvement and Seth Rogen and AMC’s interest in “Preacher” but it’s surprising to see NBC taking such a gamble on “Constantine.” As I said, “Grimm” and “Constantine” are two rather comparable shows, and could this be the writing on the wall that NBC is growing tired of “Grimm” or is NBC seeing the interest in adapted work, ie, “Hannibal” which is much-watch TV in my book.

As far as casting goes, Matt Ryan is who I would have always wanted to play John Constantine. One, he’s English, which I’m sure pleases fans. Two, he’s sardonic and speaks with a British accent, no Keanu-surfer dude “Whoa” here. And three, he’s oozing charm, something Reeves never had in the film. Ryan will be the one to make or break this show, and if this is any inclination that he can after one episode, I’d say the show is in good hands.

As with any review, there have to be a few cons. One, David Goyer is helping in show-running duties. It’s not that I don’t like Goyer, he’s okay sometimes, but I think his ego and big ideas get in the way. Two, and this isn’t a big deal to me, but it’s blasphemy to others; there is no smoking in this show, in the classic sense. And by classic sense I mean putting a cigarette to your lips and smoking it. News flash people, you can’t smoke on prime time Network TV. You can show mass murder, implied child molestation, implied rape, cannibalism, and all sorts of other wholesome family activities, but you can’t smoke. Yes, you might argue “Why put “Constantine” on NBC than?!” Well, this is what you got, and if you are going to be blinded about the fact that Constantine doesn’t smoke and make that the barometer of your argument of why you won’t watch the show, that’s pretty dumb.

Outside of smoking, the show looks like it is going to hit on all the major points that the film was neglectful about. The casting seems spot on, the world feels lived in, the special effects already look better than the movie, and I was drawn in after only 45 minutes, whereas the film I was bored to tears. Smoking is small potatoes, and if you pay close enough attention to the pilot you’ll see a nice little nod that should make you feel a little better that the creators did all they could to incorporate your precious cigarettes.

All in all, “Constantine” looks better than I expected, and it might wash the taste out of mouth of the lackluster film version starring Johnny Utah (and don’t get me wrong, I love “Point Break”). It looks like NBC is all in, and the fact that it has to compete against Fox who is premiering another DC property later this Fall in “Gotham” I’d say they will let the show grow and become one of the surprises on Fall schedule.

Fun Fact: John Constantine first appeared in 1985’s “The Saga of the Swamp Thing.”

July 13, 2014

Comic-Con Sneak Peek: The Flash…And By Default, Arrow…Um…And Inexplicably Smallville (DJ’s Take)

PROGRESS

I was never a big fan of Smallville.  Sure, it had its own huge following, but it was never really a Superman for me.  It always felt like the perpetual meanderings of a soon-to-be hero before becoming the Man Of Steel I grew love.  I wanted the hero, not the just the origin.  That kind of formula is the basis behind my apprehension to Fox’s upcoming Gotham series.  Then DC and the CW came out with a show about the fringey at best comic book hero Green Arrow.  A show in which I also had apprehension of at first.  But Arrow gave me something that I never fully got from Smallville.  Arrow gave me the hero.  Yes, Arrow also shows the origins of its titular character.  However, it uses careful orchestrated time jumps (Lost style) to interweave that past origin with his circumstances in the present.   This formula resulted in Arrow growing into probably the best comic book television series ever.  Its success showed DC and the CW that giving us the hero faster and touching back on his or her’s backstory is more enjoyable and more efficient than leading us along for 10 seasons only for a lackluster payoff.  Arrow’s rich world building is handled more deftly and accurately than DC’s cinematic one has so far.  The Flash is one of the first fruits of Arrows labor, and I have to admit, it is a tasty fruit.

There isn’t that much I need to say to set up The Flash, seeing as it was already set up perfectly in a mid-season run of Arrow last season.  Crime Scene investigator Barry Allen visited Starling City searching for the thought to be superpowered killer of his mother.  While he’s there he essentially puts Arrow on a straighter path to becoming a hero.  Then he’s struck by lightning during a freak storm caused by an experimental machine and falls into a coma.  The series picks up right where that plot line leaves off as Barry awakes slimmer, trimmer, and a sh%tload faster.  The rest of the plot goes through the comic book movie basics of Barry figuring out his powers.  The more interesting thing though is that the strange malfunction by the machine that gave Barry his powers seems to have also sparked the birth of people with abilities across the globe.   The term “metahuman” is finally dropped for all DC Comics loyalist to squeal over.  For the uninitiated, metahumans is a DC classification just as popular and actually more encompassing as Marvel’s mutant classification.  In other words, this blows the TV universe wide open.  The gritty and grounded show Arrow is now sharing a world with people as out there as Beast Boy, Aquaman, Gorilla Grodd and friggin’ Plastic Man.  And all of it was done deftly and believably in less than a minute.

Now I’m not saying that Ollie is gonna have a throw down with someone as crazy as Animal Man, (Although The Atom is gonna pop up next season) but that is what separates Flash from Arrow.  Flash is a show more suited to explore that crazy superpowered world, whereas Arrow is is more suited to just sticking a toe in it once and a while.  Flash has the right mood for it.  The pilot for Flash feels more upbeat and chipper than the gritty Arrow show, while not being as melodramatically Tiger Beat as Smallville seemed to get at times.  There is a scene with a particularly great and apropos cameo that seems to point out that delineation.  A scene that shows where this show has come from, but also how it is going to be different.

I owe Grant Gustin an apology.  When I first heard about his casting as Barry Allen in a guest spot on Arrow, I was against it.  Mainly because I was thinking long term.  Justice League long term.  I could not see them casting an actor from Glee as one of the most famous members of the Justice League in the inevitable Justice League feature film.  That was before I realized that DC’s cinematic universe isn’t likely going to cross over with its television universe.  This was also before I saw him actually as Barry.  Now I still think Gustin is a bit too young to play Allen, but Gustin’s likability outweighs any minor geek discrepancies I or anyone may have.  Stephen Amell had the benefit of Oliver Queen being unknown enough for him to shape and truly make him his own.  Barry Allen is a lot to live up to.  From what little I know of Flash mythos, Allen seems to have a more compelling and entertaining backstory than his predecessor or his successors.  Heavy lifting for Gustin to handle.  However, there are some very good scenes in this pilot, one in particular with original Flash actor John Wesley Shipp, which shows Gustin’s capability to carry this show. 

The Flash is a welcome surprise and another strong foothold for the DC’s television universe.  A universe run by two men, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, who I’ve almost forgiven for being creatively responsible for that horrible 2011 Green Lantern film.  Almost.  This October, watch out for lightning…stay out of the friend-zone…be careful in that barn…watch it…then tell me I’m wrong. 

May 25, 2014

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast Batman 75th Anniversary Special

In honor of The Dark Knight’s 75th Anniversary, the Simplistic Reviews Podcast got the whole gang together to talk about the legacy of Batman.  Now you’re probably wondering…what makes that different from any other show?  Ummmm…not much.  Although, the boys do hold an NFL style Draft of Batman villains who they think could kill the Caped Crusader.  Afterwards the draft grades are given out by a very special guest arbiter brought in to class up and beautify the proceedings…Matthew’s very own lovely wife Nicole Stewart.  No, she does not show any favoritism.  Yes, their marriage nearly comes apart at the seams.  No, Justin, DJ, and Neal don’t try to help matters.    The boys discuss Batfleck’s new Batsuit and also pick out their own favorite versions of Batman and Joker on a very special Simply The Best segment.

Grab your cape, your cowl, your shark repellant, and your Bat credit card and enjoy the show!

Show Notes:
Bat Shark Repellant
Batman Scares Deadshot
Batfleck Suit
Mr. Freeze Saying Nora
Trailer For Batman TAS Episode Over The Edge
Batman Rogues Gallery Pre-Draft Rankings

Music Notes:
The Best By Tina Turner
Batman ’89 Theme By Danny Elfman
Batman Begins Theme By Hans Zimmer
Batman ’66 Intro Theme By Neal Hefti
American Idol Theme By Cathy Dennis
Monday Night Football Theme By Johnny Pearson

July 13, 2013

Pacific Rim (DJ’s Take)…And Inexplicably…The DC Film Universe

GEEKGASM

One question that has been plaguing my thoughts ever since I walked out of the dreary and utterly disappointing Man Of Steel.  That question is, why does DC/Warner keep entrusting their comic book movie properties to Christopher Nolan?  A man who set out to produce a Superman movie and wound up producing an Incredible Hulk movie more morbid and depressing than Ang Lee’s, starring someone who resembles Superman in appearance but not in character.  A man who admittedly does not truly care for the material he is supposed to be translating into film.  A man who is admittedly apoplectic about the concerns of the comic book fans he’s supposed to be catering to.  A man who feels more comfortable turning anything resembling a classic superhero into a moping, colorless, suicide inducing allegory for daddy issues.  Why would DC/Warner give their entire comic book HISTORY to him?  Yes, I know it’s because Nolan is one of the finest directors working today.  Yes, I know it’s because Nolan’s Batman trilogy is a 3 billion dollar worldwide success.  Yes, I know it’s because Nolan’s Batman trilogy is also the most critically lauded and awarded comic book franchise ever.  Problem is that his bleek, moody, and dystopian societal outlook ONLY WORKS FOR F%*KING BATMAN.  Batman is a dark character.  So yes, the more gritty and realistic you make him, the better he gets.  However, that formula DOES NOT work for the entire DC Universe.  A flawed strategy I spoke about and foresaw during my Dark Knight Rises review almost a year ago.  DC/Warner was effectively entrusting the construction of their cinematic universe to someone who DID NOT want to construct their cinematic universe.  

You’re probably asking yourself why am I ranting about Man Of Steel, Chris Nolan and DC/Warner in the beginning of a Pacific Rim review.  Well, it’s because DC/Warner does have another director in their stable that not only knows the material, but has a genuine love for the material.  A man who should be constructing their universe.  That man is Pacific Rim’s director Guillermo Del Toro.  Give me a reason why not him.  Worried Del Toro can’t bring fun, eclectic comic book characters like Martian Manhunter, Flash, and Wonder Woman convincingly to life?  See Hellboy.  Worried Del Toro doesn’t have the chops to do comic book perfect action scenes and sequences?  See Blade 2.  Worried Del Toro can’t give a film pathos and originality?  See Pan’s Labyrinth.  Worried that a comic book nerd would be the wrong choice to helm a superhero epic.  See Avengers.  Worried that a film like Justice League is just too big to bestow upon him.  Well, Del Toro was the first person Peter Jackson asked to do The Hobbit before scheduling conflicts interceded.  If Peter Jackson was willing to hand over the best fantasy franchise ever made to Del Toro, why is it such a far leap for DC/Warner to trust him with the JLA?  Del Toro’s resume just grows and grows almost without notice.  Pacific Rim is just another awesome notch on his belt.

Rim is the fulfillment of a promise Del Toro delivered when he leaked the film’s original title at Comic-Con. (Giant F%*king Robots Versus Giant F%*king Monsters)  This is a tech versus terror smörgåsbord that draws breath from it’s Toho Company & Manga Studios predecessors and creates something amazingly fresh and original out of it.  If I was a producer on that 2014 Godzilla movie or that long awaited Voltron film, I’d shut down shop right now.  There is NOTHING I can think of that those two films can do to equal, let alone, top Pacific Rim.  Yes, Rim may be cliched empty calories as far as it’s character archetypes and plot are concerned.  However, it is the most tasty empty calories you’ll enjoy this summer and probably this entire year.  I haven’t seen a film with as many GEEKGASM moments since The Avengers.  Instead of the action scenes being incomprehensible, emotionally hollow, blunders, with the visual resonating effect of a strobe light…(Hello Battleship and EVERY Transformers movie)…they end up being well crafted, stunning, and cathartic displays of raw violence.  The special effects here are, and I was convinced of this from just the trailer, the best I personally have ever seen.  That is not hyperbole.  Every effect, every monster tooth, every robot rivet, every building toppling explosion looks breathtaking and FINISHED.  Every penny of the budget and every drop of sweat from the VFX crew is on the screen from beginning to end.  Guillermo Del Toro understands the concept of fan service.  And instead of shying away from it like most, he embraces it.  He doesn’t mind having a character in a giant robot shoot a fallen monster, video game style, as a joke just to get a “Hell, Yeah!” from the audience.  That is who I would want to make my comic book universe.  Someone who wants to please BOTH the fans and the uninitiated.  Someone who can have a balls to the wall battle scene and still have time to make the battle fun.  Yes, fun.  It is not a four letter word, literally and figuratively.  Fun is a word that needs to be the lifeblood of genre movies like this.  If it isn’t fun, then why the hell should we watch?

Recently, DC/Warner announced that Nolan won’t be producing the Justice League film.  However, it’s a safe bet that they won’t have the sense or vision to pick someone like Guillermo Del Toro to take the reigns.  They are losing the arms race to Marvel and it saddens me.  Not because I want them to win.  I love Marvel.  It saddens me because the two companies competing is better for the audiences than one totally dominating the other.  DC/Warner’s savior is right in their face flapping his arms like a cartoon character, and they still can’t see it.  Don’t believe me?  Watch Pacific Rim…imagine while doing so the same care, fun and GEEKGASM moments put into a Justice League film….cry your heart out when you realize that will probably never happen….then tell me I’m wrong.

July 12, 2013

Man of Steel

Man of Steel – Sponsors

SPONSORS

The time is now for Warner Bros. and DC Comics.  The window has already closed to be able to compete with Disney and Marvel Comics so its time to just try and carve out a little bit of a niche for themselves.  Sure, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was a huge success, but that’s over, and unless you thought “Green Lantern” was a good direction for DC Comics film-wise, well, I’d have to disagree with you on that one.  So with all their chips on the table, Warner/DC has decided to go for the Hail Mary.  That Hail Mary is “Man of Steel,” sponsored by Sears, 7-11, IHOP, and of course, LexCorp.

Contrary to what you might hear about “Man” the film isn’t that bad, sure its loud, bombastic, brash, and suffers from a severe case of style-over-substance…..hmmm, well, I guess “Man of Steel” isn’t that great when I really stop and think about it.  While it has some good ideas, the way Superman is presented almost makes this attempt feel like this is a sequel to another film.  And while “Man” tries it’s best to distance itself from the less-than-super “Superman Returns” there are too many scenes where director, Zack Snyder, once again, lets his ego get in the way and decides to make things explode as opposed to detailing the psychology of Clark Kent and how he’s torn between being the last son of a dying world and the protector to a new one. Snyder shoehorns scenes of Clark’s more impressionable years in Smallville, but the scenes merely feel like a feeble attempt at trying to make us feel like he has a soul and why he feels an obligation to the human race.  I almost feel “Man of Steel” would have been better suited as a trilogy as opposed to fitting everything into one giant action-fest.  Obviously Warners has no interest in another compelling “Dark Knight-like” trilogy, they are so busy trying to catch up to Marvel.  The one thing I will say is that Superman isn’t as interesting to be able to fit into an entire trilogy like Bruce Wayne/Batman.

At the end of “Man” I was left both wanting more and wanting less, if that is possible.  The action scenes were both large in scope, but felt empty; the story of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman was both easy to follow, yet lacked depth; and the story became inconsequential come the start of the 3rd act when everything that can go boom, goes boom.  I’m sure Michael Bay had plenty of tissue handy when he witnessed Metropolis being torn apart by a group of Kryptonians.

What troubles me the most about this new direction for Warner/DC is the world building, or lack thereof. Sure, you get a nod to LexCorp, Wayne Enterprises and other minor DC characters that may exist in this specific universe, but while Warner says they want to complete with Marvel in the superhero-movie-making business, they still seem to want to make self-contained films and somehow make them all gel.  If you go all the way back to when Marvel released “Iron Man” the plan was already in motion for more films within a coherent universe.  Marvel could have slapped “Iron Man” together and flown by the seat of their pants, but they made a conscience effort to create a world where other heroes could exist.  “Man of Steel” provides us with glimpses, or “Easter Eggs” of companies which have meaning to characters such as Lex Luthor, Batman, and Cyborg, but you’re left to wonder how many movies it is going to take to finally set in motion a “Justice League” or even a “World’s Finest” film.  At this stage in the game it looks like we’ll get another “Man of Steel” film in 2015 and maybe a “Batman” reboot in 2016.  You might say “Well, you can’t create an entire universe in just one film.”  I’d say back “How come Marvel was able to do it, and make us believe they knew what they were doing from the get-go?”

In no way am I shredding this film, even though it might sound like it.  There are things I genuinely like about “Man of Steel.”  I thought the acting and casting was spot on, and it looks like we finally have an actor playing Superman that we can believe in with Henry Cavill.  He fits the suit like a glove and his banter with Lois Lane, played wonderfully by Amy Adams, is vintage.  Michael Shannon continues to impress as General Zod and is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters actors in Hollywood.  The supporting cast is solid as well, including Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White, Chief Editor of The Daily Planet.

With “Man of Steel,” Warner/DC neither loses ground or gains ground on the Disney/Marvel juggernaut.  If anything it washes the taste out of Superman fans mouths for “Superman Returns” and gives people plenty of explosions.  What it didn’t do is break new ground.  Sure, Superman does some super things, but he also feels like a shell of what Superman should be; a protector of the Earth and Metropolis, not it’s destroyer as seen in the final 30 minutes of “Steel.”  This review sponsored by Wayne Enterprises.

Fun Fact:  General Zod’s first appearance was in Adventure Comics #283 in 1961.

Welcome to the new home of SimplisticReviews.net - We're currently still working on the site. You might notice a few issues, please be patient with us. Thanks! (Store also in testing — no orders shall be fulfilled.)
Scroll to top