‘Black Adam’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

The hierarchy of power in the DCEU has finally changed, but we’re not so sure about the direction it’s heading after watching Black Adam. For years fans have waited for the most anticipated Dwayne Johnson project because of how much he put into his film. He was dedicated to this character from the beginning, and he fought hard to get this film made. His heart and soul went into this project, and you could see a bit of that creep through in the final product. The one thing that has always impressed me about DC films is their ability to bring forth the lore that makes these mystical heroes/villains unique to their brand. That’s exactly what was done with Teth-Adam and Kahndaq. Johnson was right in making this a standalone film because there is much to explore. It also directly correlates to the same lineage as Shazam, which is something I was eagerly awaiting. 

In ancient Kahndaq, Teth Adam (Dwayne Johnson) bestowed the almighty powers of the gods. After using these powers for vengeance, he was imprisoned, becoming Black Adam. Nearly 5,000 years have passed, and Black Adam has gone from man to myth to legend. Now free, his unique form of justice, born out of rage, is challenged by modern-day heroes who form the Justice Society: Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell). The beginning of this film set the location of Kahndaq and how the people needed someone to look up to as their beacon of hope. It’s a similar narrative to Superman but presented differently. Black Adam felt a bit out of place as they were trying to integrate him into society, and it felt like he was in a different movie than the rest of the Justice Society. 

Even though Teth Adam’s backstory is interesting because of the lore and heartfelt because of his relationship with his son, there wasn’t enough to build off of. Thankfully, Doctor Fate and Hawkman stepped in at the right time to add a bit more fun and flare to the movie. Brosnan and Hodge worked together perfectly and were born to play these roles. Their chemistry was great and to see both of their powers on full display was truly the best part of the movie. The one thing that felt repetitive was the number of times the JSA fought Black Adam to teach him not to kill anyone. To be able to see Doctor Fate’s power set on screen was a sight to behold. His scenes were by far the best thing in the movie, along with Hawkman’s. Without them, the movie wouldn’t have worked as well, and they saved the second half of this film. Atom Smasher fell flat and Cyclone didn’t have nearly enough to do on the team. Their characters felt underdeveloped and empty compared to Doctor Fate and Hawkman. 

Black Adam feels a bit generic, recycled and a bit outdated, but the action scenes are really strong. Dwayne Johnson fought hard for this movie and for a certain character to be included as well. We should commend him for bringing new characters to the screen who may have no had their time to shine if it wasn’t for him. There are aspects of this film that did work, but ultimately the flaws outweigh the polished action scenes. They left so much to be desired and the world-building wasn’t as strong as other DCEU films. The hierarchy of power didn’t fully change, but a shift was felt. The ending of this film can give many fans hope for the future of the DCEU because Dwayne Johnson is going to fight the good fight for the fans, and that means we are in very good hands. 

‘The Batman’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

What do we know about Bruce Wayne? We know that he is a broken shell of a man who is trying to fix the city that took his parents away from him. Gotham City becomes a character on its own, as a parallel to Bruce Wayne and Batman. There is a duality of the facade versus the corruption with Gotham as a city and with Bruce. For as long as we’ve known this character, there is no Gotham without Batman and there is no Bruce Wayne without Gotham. Every single aspect of Gotham City, including the wheel of characters lurking in the shadows, compliment the Batman and work in favour in his growth as a person.

Matt Reeves is one of the only directors who accurately showed the detective side of Batman. He took film noir elements and fused it with a comic book narrative to fully explore the depths of this character. For the first time, Batman feels like the main character and is not being overpowered by his rogues gallery whatsoever. Each supporting character worked with Batman and with Bruce Wayne as a character. As the Batman unmasks the secrets of his characters in Gotham City, he slowly begins to assemble the pieces of his own puzzle as Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson). In a way, The Riddler (Paul Dano) helps Bruce come to the realization of how truly broken he is because of his city.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The introduction of his rogues gallery was done incredibly well. Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell), The Riddler (Paul Dano), and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) all had their moments to shine. Kravitz was a complete badass and embodied Kyle through her physicality and her charm. Farrell was unrecognizable and completely lost himself in Cobblepot. Dano and Reeves worked together to create such a menacing Riddler; that third act display will definitely have a lasting effect on many. Lastly, Turturro as Falcone was a dream come true for me, as someone who has an appreciation for a nuanced mob boss. Also, can’t forget to mention the other half of the detective duo, Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) who had such great chemistry with Pattinson and he brought the fire.

Not only does the detective work keep you engaged throughout the lengthy runtime, but the cinematography by Greig Fraser visually elevates the story. There are some beautiful shots and angles that put you directly into the cowl or even on the side of the batmobile. Reeves and Fraser brought elements from the video games to life as well in this film and it felt very interactive. Stylistically, it is the most daring Batman yet, and it’s just so refreshing to see something different. Adding onto the precision of the story, direction, and cinematography, the score composed by Michael Giacchino is dark, broody, and chilling. You could just feel the weight on Batman’s shoulders in every single scene and what it means for Bruce to dawn the cape.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The Batman is the definitive Batman film. The majority of people calling it that are all telling the truth. Even if you think the runtime is a bit long, or there are too many endings in the third act, or you may not think Robert Pattinson fits the role of Bruce Wayne just yet, the bones of who Batman is and his detective origin is what makes The Batman the best. The film is not perfect and could have used a bit of editing to tighten up some scenes. But the important thing is that each member of this ensemble had their time to shine and there are definitely some surprises along the way. Reeves takes you into Gotham and every element of the city swallows you whole like the rest of the characters. Truly an immersive experience in IMAX.

Wonder Woman 1984 Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

If this year has taught any of us anything, it is that patience is key and that greed truly ruins the best of people. We’ve seen that leaders do not look after their own people because power and money are more important than saving their country’s population. What Wonder Woman 1984 does so well is show us what humanity values. What it truly needs is the support of others around them in order to survive in this world. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is the embodiment of all of these values, patience, love, honesty, justice and most importantly, peace.

The film begins with a young Diana (Lilly Aspell) taking part in the Amazonian Olympics. She is the youngest out of the rest of the contenders. What is so wonderful about this opening sequence Diana’s determination to be the best and her passion towards achieving that goal. That passion and drive is definitely a good thing but sometimes it can turn into something else. Wanting something more than anything in the world can also be damaging depending on the desire. Patty Jenkins wanted to reflect the world we live in by incorporating fun nostalgia to gloss over the fact that life can be horrible in any decade. Everyone wants to lead the perfect life. People want to achieve their dreams and when that doesn’t happen when they want it to happen, when they believe it should happen, people get desperate.

(left) Gal Gadot and Chris Pine
Courtesy of The Stone Quarry and Warner Brothers

The story was really strong but the execution is what was lacking the most. The entire cast was fantastic and really brought so much energy to the film. However, there were plenty of missteps and there were restructured pieces from the first instalment, that made it somewhat feel repetitive. If it weren’t for Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) “man out of time” schtick to make this film enjoyable then it would have been pretty dry. Gadot and Pine have excellent chemistry so it was absolutely magical to see them interact again but it wasn’t enough. Steve Trevor is the heart of Diana Prince, therefore the heart of the entire film (again), we haven’t seen Diana without Steve in her own film yet. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very fun film but it loses its power towards the middle.

(center) Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord
Courtesy of The Stone Quarry and Warner Brothers

Jenkins also introduced us to Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara Minevra (Kristen Wiig) who both gave excellent portrayals of their characters. Pascal stole the spotlight, he was brilliant and the one thing everyone will remember from this film. In all honesty, as good as Wiig was as Cheetah, Pascal overshadowed her and it felt like the story wasn’t strong enough to tie her in as well. There was so much more they could have done with Cheetah and I understand that it is her debut but Wiig was underused. The special effects weren’t that strong either and they should have taken more time to perfect Cheetah, instead of just rushing her debut in this way. The third act of the film also felt incredibly rushed, especially considering how long it took to get there. They needed to tie everything up quick and you could tell.

Wonder Woman 1984 is filled with 80s nostalgia and Gal Gadot embodies the character of Diana Prince so well. There are moments that mirror the powerful scene in the first instalment that will make all women feel empowered. Wonder Woman makes all women feel proud of who they are because everyone can see a little bit of themselves in Diana. Gadot brings this purity, this essence that no one can quite describe and that is what makes her version of Diana so wonderful to watch. Make sure to stay for the post credit scene because there is a lovely little treat for fans.

The Snyder Cut Journey & What We Can Expect

Since 2015, the road for Zack Snyder and DCEU fans has been a rocky one. The one moment in Hall H, when the Batman v Superman trailer came on and everyone went nuts, was the moment that changed the hype level for this franchise. However, after the release of the film, things took a turn for the worse.

The criticism for Batman v Superman hit the fan base hard and for many years, they had to defend Zack Snyder and his film. 4 years later the film is still very much divisive and constantly raises a negative discourse online. After Warner Brothers took the damage from Batman v Supermantheir next film, Suicide Squad, also faced harsh criticism online from everyone. The DCEU franchise has not had a very easy entry into the world of comic book films but the fans still had faith in Zack Snyder to deliver with Justice League.

PRE JUSTICE LEAGUE RELEASE

As they were filming Justice League, Zack Snyder would post updates on his Vero account, with storyboards, still pictures and behind the scene photos. In March 2017, it was reported by ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ that Zack and Deborah Snyder experienced a tragedy in their family, as their daughter, Autumn passed away from a suicide. It was rumoured, that Zack wanted to finish Justice League and asked Warner Brothers to postpone filming, but they refused and hired Joss Whedon to finish the film. Zack Snyder stepped down from his own film, to be with his family, as his work was slowly chopped up and left on the cutting room floor.

Joss Whedon stepped in and only used 10% of the Zack Snyder’s footage, which was already completed. The rest of the film was reworked and rewritten to fit Whedon’s vision of Justice League, which was released under Zack Snyder’s name for the final result. Joss Whedon had removed the heart of the Justice League, in his rewrite, as Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, was cast aside and given a much smaller role, as was intended. Whedon added a Russian family in the third act, which was apparently more important than the team development.

POST JUSTICE LEAGUE RELEASE

Fans could tell the difference from the very first Justice League trailer, which was all Zack Snyder’s footage, versus Joss Whedon’s version. The lighting was off, the atmosphere felt different, the humour was not the dark sarcasm, we were accustomed to in Man of Steel or Batman v Superman. It was a completely different film.

“Sources say “Justice League” reshoots have been used to punch up the dialogue. Whedon, the director of “The Avengers,” is well respected for his ability to create memorably wry exchanges between his characters.” – Justin Kroll, Brett Lang for Variety

The fans were skeptical with Joss Whedon’s vision because Zack Snyder’s vision, for the DCEU, was extremely different, than what the MCU had to offer and that was never seen as a bad thing. Whedon’s choices were very interesting and did not really capture the same essence that Zack Snyder had already put in place, in the previous two instalments of his Superman story arc. Majority of the final product felt forced and extremely rushed, leaving Warner Brothers with another bust at the box office. Justice League earned $228 million domestic and $656 million worldwide, as reported by Forbes’ it cost Warner Brothers more money to make it, than  it brought in.

This collage shows the differences from Zack Snyder’s film versus Joss Whedon’s reshoots.

ZSJL reshoots

Source: @Deven_Wagner on Twitter

 

The social platform ‘Vero’ is something Zack Snyder used throughout his journey on Justice League. In the early stages when Warner Brothers asked him to cut down his runtime.

ZSJL early vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

As Zack Snyder continued answering fan questions on his Vero people began to question what actually happened with Warner Brothers and Justice League. Zack did not watch Joss Whedon’s film, he stayed away from everything after he was forced to give up his film.

Exhibit A: Fans Asking Questions About Joss Whedon’s Cut of Justice League 

ZSJL 2 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

Exhibit B: Zack Snyder Posting His Scene of Cyborg and His Family 

ZSJL 4 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

Exhibit C: A Photo of Uxas Which Was NOT Used in Whedon’s Cut 

ZSJL 3 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

 

#ReleaseTheSnyderCut Movement 

On January 7th, the attention for #ReleaseTheSnyderCut gained a new momentum. Fans of the Snyder Cut stood outside the Warner Brothers Headquarters with a #ReleaseTheSnyderCut sign, showing them that fans do care about Zack Snyder’s full vision.

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 2.31.58 PM

Source @BatmanNewsCom on Twitter

After this, the movement became stronger and fans of Zack Snyder continued to press on social media that his cut existed and was, in fact, real. There were multiple sources confirming and reassuring all of us that there was a cut and it would come out in due time. The hashtag went viral and the fans kept pushing for 4 years. It wasn’t until Zack Snyder posted this image on his Vero that fans really pushed the envelope on the movement.

ZSJL 1 Vero

Source: Zack Snyder’s Vero Account

Zack Snyder showed fans the film reels of his original 214 minute cut that he has kept with him. It is real and it does exist. During all of this, there was also merchandise that was sold through Ink To The People that fans purchased to support the Snyder Cut and all proceeds went to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The fans were so incredibly dedicated to making sure that Zack Snyder’s full vision would be seen in whatever form because of the poor circumstances that caused him to step back. The fans believed that it was mishandled and that he deserved justice.

On the March 27th, 2020, the 4th Anniversary of the often divisive Batman v Superman, Zack hosted a watch party on Vero and that night, something very unexpected happened. It was the day that united the whole cast of Justice League, which made for a very emotional evening. Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck all used the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag on their social platforms.

Ben RTSCGal RTSCJason rtscRay RTSC

Shortly after, the hashtag grew stronger and continued to be the Number 1 trending topic for a couple of days. Fans continued to push and they started questioning when the official drop would be. The rumours began to swirl, claiming that Zack was going to strike a deal with HBO Max. Zack then wanted to host a Man of Steel watch party to restore some hope in the world.

Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 3.40.36 PM

Many people tuned in because there was a rumoured surprise at the end of the watch party. People claimed that Zack had some information on the Snyder Cut that he would share with us. He shared his storyboards and gave running commentary about the details he used in Man of Steel and then his wife, and executive producer Deborah Snyder, came and joined the party. After the film was over, Zack invited fans to ask questions on his Vero but what they did not expect, was Superman himself making an appearance. Henry Cavill showed up in his famous blue tank top and helped Zack Snyder reveal the official HBO Max poster for Zack Snyder’s Justice League’. There is no set date but it will be coming out in 2021.

JL official

Source: Warner Brothers and HBO Max

Love Letter To DCEU Fans

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Teaser Trailer 

 

JUSTICE CON & DC FANDOME 

Justice Con is a fanmade event, created by three, very dedicated women on Twitter and YouTube, @TheNerdQueens and @ya_girlmeg/Wonder Meg on both platforms.

Justice-Con-Logo-Featured

The con was a complete success and it was filled with so much positivity during those 2 days! Ray Fisher had his own panel and discussed Cyborg’s arc in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, he also addressed the alleged toxicity on set, with Joss Whedon in the director’s chair. Towards the end of his panel, Zack Snyder jumped in and the views skyrocketed. Fans loved seeing Zack and Ray interact on the livestream!

Right after, Zack Snyder had his panel and taught the fans about aspect ratios because he is using a different aspect ratio for the Snyder Cut. Zack also revealed a new t-shirt in honour of his daughter Autumn and his dedicated fanbase.

zs ap

It will be released over at Ink To The People and all proceeds will go to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Zack didn’t stop there, he gave us a short, 20 second clip of something fans have been waiting for. This little teaser got everyone excited for what we could expect at DC Fandome!

You can expect a darker version of Justice League with Victor Stone at the center of the story. Zack Snyder always intended to have Cyborg as the heart of Justice League and there are plenty of more scenes with him at the forefront. There are possible Martian Manhunter scenes, more of J.K. Simmons Commissioner Gordon, a first look at Ryan Choi (Atom) working in Star Labs with Silas Stone and a possible Green Lantern cameo!

What we do know is that we are getting a full Zack Snyder’s Justice League trailer on August 22nd. So get your accounts ready, go schedule your panels and get ready to enter…. the SNYDERVERSE!