Rogue One: A Star Wars Story- SpartanNerd Review

I am writing about this movie almost two weeks after its release.  I saw it first at a special “pre-showing” put on by the Tangled Web…and as is my custom I waited until watching it a second time to write a review.  It’s a good thing, too.  I saw the movie in a whole different light this second time.  SPOILERS AHEAD!

The first time through, I left with a sense of “this is really a war movie.”  I even said to some people, “Rogue One is a lot less driven by the drama of the characters…it is more of a war movie.”  We DO get some more “war movie” like camera shots, battle scenes, etc.  But this movie IS character driven too.  Masterfully, this is a concise story that explains how the rebels knew how to blow up the Death Star…it accomplishes that goal, AND makes you care about the characters.

The movie begins with a flashback scene…Jyn Erso as a child, escapes from the Empire after seeing her mother gunned down and her father forced to work for them.  She takes up with a terrorist named Saw Gerrera, who raises her.  This guy is very much a cyborg in the same way as Darth Vader.  His body is half mechanized, and he has to breathe with a special device.  (I wonder, though if there is more than oxygen in that tank, the way he looks after he takes a hit with it!)

After this scene, we get…NO SCRAWL.  NO FANFARE.  This is the first continuity movie that breaks from that tradition.  And it was a little jarring to be honest.  I suppose I am being a traditionalist, however.

Basically, we follow adult Jyn as she is a prisoner, being taken to a labor camp.  She gets rescued by the rebels, and we learn why…an Imperial Pilot defected to Saw Gerrera, claiming that her father Galen Erso sent him.  She gets paired with said pilot, another pilot named Cassian, and a droid named K-2SO.  (K-2 was great!)  Basically, they wind up at Jedha, the holy city of the Jedi, where they meet up with some protectors of the temple…Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus.  With half-buried monuments of saber wielding Jedi, and a conspicuous “church” style building in the middle, this is a new establishment in the Star Wars movie-verse.  The only temple we have seen so far is the temple on Coruscant from the prequel films.  It is revealed that this temple is a place where Jedi used Kyber Crystals.  As far as I know this is the first mention of the Kyber Crystal in a mainline Star Wars film…the first hint that this is an EU driven story…a plan by Disney to add more official lore to the Star Wars property.

Essentially, Jyn gets to see what the pilot brought…a hologram of Galen Erso expressing love for his daughter and detailing how he worked to build a magnificent Death Star, but purposely designed it with a flaw that the rebels could exploit to destroy it.

Grand Moff Tarkin has caught wind of the defected pilot, and orders a test of the Death Star against the wishes of Director Krennic, the person in charge of building the Death Star.  They decide to blow up the city of Jedha, which is very symbolic.

The footage of the super laser being powered up always does it for me in the theater!  We get another scene of what it looks like when you are on a planet being hit by it…(we saw something like it in Episode VII: The Force Awakens when the Starkiller Base attacked that planet.)  Basically, it is like an earthquake and a volcano all at the same time…slowly unfolding.  (It seems that in “A New Hope” the explosion of Alderaan was instantaneous from the Death Star.)

Our Rogue One rebels escape, and immediately go to a contrasting place, Eadoo.  A place where Kyber Crystals are refined.  Here is more EU nerd stuff!  The Jedi found their crystals in nature to make lightsabers.  The Sith manufacture their crystals.  Just some more nerdy stuff!

Cassian has orders to kill Galen Erso.  And this is the part of the movie that doesn’t make sense.  Why do the rebels want Galen Erso dead?  The Death Star has already been built…He would be more helpful alive.  We saw that officially he was supposed to bring him back, but the more militant faction in the rebellion told him to assassinate him.  While Cassian lines up Galen Erso in his sight…Director Krennic is right there.  Who would be the more fruitful target?  It doesn’t matter.  The Rebel Alliance attacks before he can pull the trigger.  And Jyn has snuck on the platform to talk to her father.  Of course, he dies a classic Star Wars death in her arms…

Director Krennic goes to see Darth Vader, apparently at Mustufar.  This is one of the most striking scenes in the film.  Vader lives in a gigantic black castle, with lava pouring down the side.  AWESOME!  We also see him in a Bacta Tank.  I can’t remember which book it was, but I remember reading one of the EU novels, and it talked about how Vader would get in the Bacta Chamber and attempt to heal himself with the force.  Sometimes he would also feel the pull to the light side…But he always kept that to himself as a secret plan to kill the Emperor.  Vader goes off on Krennic, delivering my favorite line of the film, “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director!”  (I think if I get an action figure from this movie, it will be of Director Krennic.  I AM THE DIRECTOR!)

When they leave, Jyn reveals that she saw how to destroy the Death Star…this information gets taken to the council, who decides not to move.  But that more militant faction decides to go and get the plans anyway, sparking the big war at the end.

There is a lot to say about that big war.  One of the things is the Shield Generator…it is of a prequel trilogy design…the ringed ship serves as a gate into the planet.  It is a technological way for the Empire to lay siege to a whole planet.  Which is pretty cool.  This becomes one of the problems for the rebels to defeat…and defeat it they do in a “Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures” type of mission.  Just for us fans!  The Hammerhead Corvette.  Enough said!

The rebels below on the surface each meet their end during the diversionary battle…a plot device Star Wars uses over and over.  Create a diversion, send the smaller force to do the more important job.  In this case, that job is beaming the plans out of the Data Vault, which can be done electronically by remote, but of course all of those convenient features get shut down during battle.  The Data Vault is one of my favorite designs in all of Star Wars.  It is basically a library system of tapes.  It actually looks like an 8-track when we first see it!  Add the gigantic satellite dish on top of the tower, and we have a really retro thing that screams 1977.

I don’t want to write any more on this New Years Eve…(BURN FOREVER, 2016.)  But basically I would like to say something substantive about Carrie Fisher.

When I first saw this movie, I thought it was really cool that they were able to splice the old footage and new footage together, as the rebels delivered the disk with the plans to Princess Leia.  But the second time, with the death of Carrie Fisher fresh in my mind, it was SPOOKY.  Like watching a ghost.  And I’m not sure it is really that respectful either…I mean nothing can be done.  You never know when it is your time.  And evidently she has already been heavily filmed for Star Wars Episode VIII.  It just really hit me as sad this second time watching the movie on this scenes.  Grand Moff Tarkin’s actor died years ago.  They made a CGI likeness of him in the movie…I really thought they just had an actor with an uncanny similarity.  I guess I have less emotional attachment to that guy (which is totally wrong in esscence.).  But I don’t think they should do that with Princess Leia.

Anyways, I can’t give this film any less than a 5/5 after my second viewing.  It is almost the perfect Star Wars movie, and there are NO JEDI.  (Darth Vader….IS AWESOME.)

Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

SpartanNerd Movie Review…Suicide Squad

I finally saw Suicide Squad for the second time, and am ready to drop a big analysis and review!  SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Where does the SpartanNerd see movies?  Usually either at NCG in Spartanburg on the east side, or at Spartan 16 on the west side.  This time I saw Suicide Squad at NCG, and sat in a comfortable reclining seat!

First, the previews….

The previews for Dr. Strange look better and better.  That is a character that I encountered a few times in Marvel comics over the years, but I know very little about actually.  I like what I see, though.

The first time I saw Suicide Squad, I didn’t see the preview for Wonder Woman.  That looks INCREDIBLE.  It appears she might get the Captain America treatment, as the previews show her fighting in three different eras…the fantasy past, WWII (or WWI?), and modern times.  We got to see her use the lasso of truth and swing the sword and bash the shield.  Also, they are using the “Steve” story, where she is in love with the first man she ever met.  She also tells him that Zeuss created her.  So we get quite alot!

The preview for Arthur looks great.  Dark, though.

Dunkirk…I don’t know much about this historical event?

Enough of making you wait, the same way I did!  On with the review!

The movie opens with Deadshot and Harley Quinn…both prisoners in Belle Reve.  For those of you who don’t know, Belle Reve is an actual prison in the DC universe, as opposed to Arkham Asylum, which is a mental treatment facility.  Belle Reve has the distinction of being designed to handle “metahuman” prisoners.

The guards rough house Deadshot for awhile, and then we see Harley trying to seduce the lead guard, which is apparently her tried and true tactic for escape.  But she gets shocked, and we see flashback memories of her being force-fed and tortured at Belle Reve.  That is puzzling…why?

Amanda Waller…This actress was perfect.  In fact, they all were, from Will Smith’s Deadshot to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.  Really, every character was nailed in character and casting!  Amanda Waller is talking at the Pentagon about a metahuman response to Superman.  She notes that Superman was on “our side.”  But the next Superman might not be.  (This movie is in continuity…meaning Superman’s death by Doomsday at the end of Dawn of Justice is quite relevant.)

As Waller explains each person in “Task Force X” to the Pentagon, Graphics on screen give the viewers some stats, as how the villain was captured is explained.  Batman (Aflec) picked off Deadshot.

AND WHAT WAS THAT?

Graphics on the screen indicate that Harley Quinn was involved with the death of Robin…a twist!  We get a perfect Harley Quinn origin, that she was the Joker’s psychiatrist and fell in love with him.  The Joker in this continuity is more of a gangster Joker that we haven’t seen so much of in film.  And he’s nuts.  I thought Lex Luthor was crazy…this Joker is almost Satan, the way he tempts people, and growls.  There is really no way to be on his good side, as the ganster boss found out right before we got the story about how Batman rescued Harley from the Joker’s car.  The first time I saw this, I wondered why Batman kissed her before bringing her in…but the second time I realized he was doing mouth to mouth resuscitation, and she pulled a “Sandlot” style french kiss on him.

Captain Boomerang was brought in by the Flash.  It was good to see a clear picture of him in a movie.  He looks cool, and isn’t the same guy from TV.

We don’t know how El Diablo got brought into prison, but we know he torched the prison yard during a riot.  The guy is perfect…Like I said, every character was nailed dead on.  My only knowledge of this character comes from the few Suocide Squad comics I read from The New 52, but in those books he seems scared of his powers, and very hesitant.  Exactly what we see in this movie.

Killer Croc is also perfect.  He is standing in for King Shark…but they got the details of his skin condition being a problem and being a cannibal as well.

The enchantress…this is the character I knew the least about.  Are there two actresses?  One for June Moon and the other for The Witch?  (No.  It’s just makeup and CGI)

The Suicide Squad will be led by Colonel Flagg…a hard nosed special ops guy who is in love with June Moon, and this is how Amanda Waller has him under her control.

Basically, Amanda Waller sends The Witch to some foreign country, and she brings back secret weapon plans…it takes less than ten seconds.  And this is how she convinced the government to authorize this black ops group.

 

Next we get a few shots of the criminals being spoken to.  Deadshotgets to demonstrate his power…the ability to never miss.  He hits the target silhouettes right in the middle of the head.  There is no grouping…each bullet hit the same spot over and over.

What happens is June becomes the Witch while she is sleeping, and teleports to where her “brother” is kept.  She releases him, and he possesses a guy who goes to the bathroom.  It becomes apparent that the more people he kills, the more power he will collect.  When they try stabbing the Witch’s heart, (which is in a briefcase…their tactic to control the spirit,) her Brother lends some of his essence and traps the Witch in a body that more resembles June’s.

All of the killing going on gets  Task Force X their first mission.

Each person Amanda Waller introduced to the government was there, plus one extra guy…Slipknit (a guy who can scale any surface).   An obvious redshirt.  Whoever heard of Slipknot?  And yes, he tries to escape and gets his head blown off.  (The prisoners have an explosive in their necks as an “insurance policy,” just like in the comics.)

 

And I think I found a hole in the plot.  After they get dressed and load the chopper to go fight Brother and Sister, someone shoots them down…Was it the Joker?  Why would he shoot down a chopper that he knows has Harley Quinn in it.  (Harley has a contraband cell phone.)

When they get out, they encounter a bunch of zombified people.  I didn’t expect this…Suicide Squad…a Zombie Movie.  Nope.  These zombies are far flimsier than what you see on The Walking Dead.  They are covered in eyes, and seem to breathe by contracting their whole body.

The Suicide Squad makes quick work of them.  Captain Boomerang throws his boomerangs, Harley uses a baseball bat, Killer Crock tears into them, Deadshot uses his incredible aim, and El Diablo does nothing!

A couple of humorous things.  Harley steals a purse.  And takes the elevator in front of everyone.  Captain Boomerang is enamored with his stuffed pink unicorn.  He gets attacked and stabbed by a zombie, but has a stack of hundred dollar bills padding his chest, which take the blade!  El Diablo gets goaded into using his powers, and torches like one hundred zombies!

After the fight, Harley tries to escape.  She is briefly united with the Joker, but then his chopper is shot down, and he appears to be dead.  Also, Waller had Deadshot attempt to assassinate her.  He clearly didn’t miss.  But she seemed to be un injured.  How?

We get more of Harley’s origin.  Apparently she took a dive into the acid pool, just like in the comics.  When she nearly drowned, Joker jumped in and saved her.  More of DC and the movie writers really nailing this story as far as the characters are concerned.

Harley apparently lives, but is broken since her boyfriend is gone.

Everyone is supposed to be rescuing someone from all of this.  It turns out to be…Amanda Waller!  Waller kills all of the computer techs in the tower room with her, as her task force is supposed to extract her.  But her chopper goes down, and she gets captured by the zombies.

So the Suicide Squad feels sorry for themselves, and they all decide to go to a nearby bar and have some drinks.  Deadshot points out that all of the damage, disaster, etc. is going to be blamed on them.  When they were actually sent to stop it all.  Flagg comes in and joins them.  Apparently the rules are going to relax on the Suicide Squad.  They all decide to take out the Witch, because they “have nothing better to do.”  We get El Diablo’s origin…he basically lost his temper and burned down his own house with his wife and kids inside.

It all goes down to Killer Croc taking an explosive under “Brother.”  Diablo transforms into his demon self to take on the brother and be sure he is in the right place.  With him out of the way, June/The Witch begins to take on each member of the team.  Only when they decided to work together can they take her out.

It all ends happy.  The Witch is killed, but June survives.  Harley gets an espresso machine.  Croc gets BET.  And then of course the Joker busts in and rescues Harley.  We all knew he wasn’t dead!

I’m not one to hate on Dawn of Justice.  It has its problems.  It’s dark.  Batman is a little bit too eager with guns.  Suicide Squad is a completely different experience.  I have said I enjoyed it more than X-Men…it is similar, but with all anti-heros.  The soundtrack is terrific, and I might just buy it!

I am going to give this movie a 4/5.  It lost a point because there ARE a few plotholes.  (Why did seemingly allied chopper shoot them down?)  But the characters and costumes were perfect.  The mood of the movie wasn’t really irreverent, but it was pretty humorous.  There was lots of action.  And characters I came to care about, even if I didn’t know them.

Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

SpartanNerd…Micro Reviews 1

New thing.  MICRO REVIEWS!

These posts will be brief summary thoughts concerning my feelings about various “nerdtainment” items.  This is becoming a necessity, as I am getting more content than I have time for a formal review.

 

SUICIDE SQUAD.  I promise, I will bring a full review after I see it a second time.  I saw this on opening weekend, and was impressed.  Very nice movie, that remained faithful to the comic book characters.  Harley Quinn stole the show…

 

HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: “THE THREE TERRORS” (Short Animation)…This is now available on iTunes, and I watched it today.  It is ten minutes of an attempt by Super7 to revive the Filmation style of animation.  This little cartoon hit it at about 80%.  Alan Oppenheimer still voices Skeletor, but he just doesn’t have the high pitches that he carried in his younger days.

 

SPEAKING OF SUPER7…I was shocked to hear of their takeover of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS.  I think their small figure line is cute and interesting, maybe even worth the $5 a figure.  But I don’t own any…I am in the camp with many other fans that jittery times are ahead.  Why would Mattel pass that property?  I am glad Digital River is done.  Maybe shipping will be cheaper.

 

METALLICA: “HARDWIRED FOR DESTRUCTION”…This is the only track and also is the title track) released so far, for an album slated to release on November 18.  It’s about time!  The few reviews on iTunes so far compare the song to stuff on “Justice for All.”  I think the singing might be a little smoother than what was on “Death Magnetic,” but the band’s all around sound is about the same.  Robert Trujillo is KILLING that bass!

 

YOUNG JUSTICE…I began watching this again…I watched it last year.  What a great cartoon!  I wish more would happen.

 

DC COMICS: REBIRTH..I have been reading Batman as well as Robin, Son of Batman, and also I picked up All Star Batman.  So far, the most powerful story is the Batman book that came out this week.  Batman #5 dropped a couple of bombs, that they are going to kill Batman ONCE AGAIN.  And that Duke Thomas is going to marry Gotham Girl.

 

MAGIC THE GATHERING: CONSPIRACY-TAKE THE CROWN…The spoilers released so far have fans scratching their heads.  This set looks to bring more power and almost better reprints than Eternal Masters and Modern Masters 2015.  Very odd!

 

First Ever Micro-Reviews!  Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

 

SpartanNerd Movie Review- “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (second screening. Spoilers ahead!)

You read the title.  Spoilers ahead!

 

My second screening was in the same theatre.  I saw the same previews.  But this time I had a sharper eye out for little details.  And I kept a few notes along the way so I could have an in depth blog post.

So.  You have been warned.  If you don’t want to know deep things about this film, read my first review which contains no spoilers hardly but gives you the essence of the film.

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Now that I got that over with., here is a scene by scene commentary

The opening of the film shows Bruce Wayne’s parents being murdered.  How many times have we seen this in a film?  Well, they stress it alot in the comics.  This particularly retelling was all cinematic.  Lots of details, like the pearls falling through the air, were included.  There is alot of focus on his mother, Martha, and her name is actually emphasized…I detected this the first time…they are buried in a moseleum, and someone places flowers in the vase…you can only see Martha’s name.  (Thomas’ name is covered up by the flowers.)

We also see Bruce in a fit of grief run out in the graveyard and fall into what we know will become the bat cave.  He sees a ton of bats, that startle him, and in a true comics image, he unfolds his hands and basks in them as they surround him.  He seems to float up into the sky.

It is a dream…we hear Bruce say something, and then see scenes from Superman’s battle with General Zod, on the day that he made himself public to the world.  There is a world engine up above Metropolis, where Bruce is apparently conducting business.  All of this mayhem is happening.  He witnesses several things, like Superman and Zod crashing into the world engine, causing it to become unstable.  Then they crash into a building.  What can only be heat vision cuts out huge chunks of the same building.  Bruce is telling “Jack” to get out, now.  But then this “jack” person prays to God to have mercy on his soul.  Wayne Tower apparently falls.  In the wreckage, Bruce hears someone crying for help.  A beam has fallen on “Wally,” Bruce calls him by name.  He can’t feel his legs.  Bruce has enough strength alone to move the beam off of Wally.  Then, a little girl is about to be killed by falling debris.  But he knocks her out of the way, when he says “We’ll find your mother.”  But she says her mother was there, and points up at the crumbled building.

We get all of this as a setup…we see some of Bruce’s reasoning for not liking Superman.

It is good that they are showing us this…for that justification, but also because these images provide some context for people who did not see “Man of Steel.”

Next, we see “18 months later, somewhere in the Indian Ocean”.  There is a destroyed World Engine site here.  (The World Engine was something General Zod set up to bring Krypton back by terraforming Earth.)  Here, archeologists have excavated a large amount of green glowing rock…Kryptonite, of course.  Beautiful cinematography, I might add.  I would like to visit that location someday!

The next scene is of Lois Lane captured by what appears to be African warlords.  There are clearly (not to be crass) “black guys” and “white guys.”  It is revealed that her photographer is bugged by the CIA, they kill him, and the warlord takes Lois to the back.  The white guys kill most of the black guys at this point…they are a mercenary force.  Superman comes to Lois’ rescue, knocking out the head warlord.  The mercenaries flee about the moment Superman arrives, and it looks like Superman killed the whole army.

The next scene is of the media, questioning Superman’s authority.  It appears that he did all of the killing in order to rescue Lois.  She has her journal, which has taken a bullet.  Clearly an exotic bullet of a make not usually seen.  Clark comes in with groceries while she is taking a bath…it appears that they are “shacking up.”

The comics make a good point of having Superman “use doors”, and doing other normal things.  They want to emphasize that Clark wants to remain feeling as human as possible.  Lois is apparently tortured by what happened.  That they are co-habitating is a way of making Superman relevant to a modern audience.  Traditionally, Lois and Clark are married when they live together.

In a change of pace, we see some unkempt women inside of a cage of some kind.  Police are coming to set them free, but they say “It saved us.  A devil.” and appear to be frightened enough not to want to come out of the cage.  One of the police catch a glimpse of Batman hanging in the corner, and begins opening fire.  But of course, Batman gets away.  When they find the criminal, he is branded with a Bat symbol.  This man was apparently a human trafficker, and those women were the victims.  He is referred to as “The Gotham Bat.”

We immediately see Alfred and Bruce back at the bat cave discussing things.  Batman uses a voice changer, which is apparently malfunctioning.  It does give him a menacing sound.  Batman gets to talking about Anatoli, (one of the mercenaries at the African warlord incident), how he wants to smuggle a dirty bomb into Gotham, and that someone named “the White Portuguese” is the point man.  Alfred says something about the rules changing.  This is a reference to the branding…a more brutal tactic that once Batman would never have used…but then Alfred talks about “Gods” coming from the skies.  The world isn’t unique anymore.  And that “good men turn cruel.”

The Batman presented here is a shade of Frank Miller’s Batman.  Grittier.  Older.  Jaded.

Enter Lex Luthor.  And the first thing on his list is Kryptonite.  He has a small piece, and shows film of using it to cut General Zod’s body.  (A Kryptonian could not be cut with an ordinary scalpel.  DUH!)  He is pitching to a senator and a general for a way to weaponize Kryptonite…that he has found a large amount, and would like clearance to import it.  His explanation is to “have a silver bullet.”  It might not ever have to be used, but just having it could be comfort.  The senator resists, saying that Superman isn’t our enemy.  But then “the metahuman thesis” is brought up.  The idea that there will be more superhumans…that indeed they have always been among regular humans and are the basis for myths, legends, and religions.

The scene cuts to the monument to Superman, where there is a wall of remembrance for those who fell when General Zod did his attack in Man of Steel.  And a giant statue of Superman.  Wally, from the beginning of the movie, now in a wheelchair missing the bottom of his legs, decides to climb the statue and vandalize it.  He spray paints the words “False God” on the S emblem.  He begins to say “I work for Bruce Wayne”

This makes the news…Perry White says, “Is our love affair with the Man in the Sky over?”

The next scene is one of the most jarring and bizarre scenes of the film.  Lex Luthor is approached by the general, who wants his “wish list.”  Lex is eating Jolly Ranchers when he makes two demands.  Access to the Kryptonian ship, and General Zod’s body.  We see the events happen as he is asking…the power of movies!  But what nerved me out was at where the third wish would be, he just stuck a jolly ranger in the general’s mouth and said, “that one’s cherry.” and tapped him on the lips.  I get the willies thinking about it!

This iteration of Lex Luther is unlike any before.  Lex is usually an older man, bald. rich.  and sane but mad.  But he appears normal to people at large.  Enough so that he even wins US President in one of the older storylines.  And Gene Hackman’s was really mostly just comedy.

This portrayal of Lex Luthor is more like the Heath Ledger Joker.  Played by Jesse Eisman, he has long parted hair right up the middle.  When I first saw him in the previews, I thought he must be the Joker, actually.  And then images of the Joker came out from the upcoming Suicide Squad movie.  And I was apparently very wrong.  This Lex Luthor is obviously a spoiled rich kid, having inherited his father’s company, and is a bit touched with with something.  The Jolly Rancher scene was a big hint at that.  He’s totally psycho!

SOOOO….

Bruce Wayne goes to a street fight, where evidently he bets regularly.  His presence doesn’t seem to shock the attendants.  Here he finds Anatoli, exchanges a few words, while both men subtly set their phones on the table.  Bruce’s phone clones Anatoli’s phone!  I hope the government can’t do that!

Clark Kent is ready to cover the Bat Vigilante story, but Perry White wants him on football. He shrugs it off, saying that violence in Gotham amongst poor people.  This isn’t news.

And one of my first big questions comes up.  In this continuity, is Gotham across the river from Metropolis, or is it a part of Metropolis?  Several times this comes up in the movie.  It appears that Superman (and normal human characters)can look across the river and see the bat signal.  Gotham appears to be a really run down place, while Metropolis is a big city.  If the two are really close, or even are the same city, then that would explain Wayne Tower being in Metropolis.  But the movie doesn’t make it clear.  This is kind of an injustice if so…Gotham has a legacy as being a gothic city, a-la Chicago, while Metropolis seems to be New York.  The two are classically opposites in portrayal, with rain in Gotham all the time, and sunshine in Metropolis.  How can this continue if the cities are that close together?

The senator comes by to personally tell Lex that she is going to block the import of Kryptonite into the city.  They meet in Lex’s father’s study, where he says he comes to think and clear his head.  He makes reference to “piss” being “Granny’s Peach Tea.”  This is important.  He then points out the painting…the classical painting of Angel Michael throwing Lucifer out of Heaven.  Lex comments that the image should be reversed, that the demon should be throwing the angel out of Heaven.

This stirring scene is followed by a “Knightmare.”  The comics often show Batman having some type of dream or vision.  This time it is him going to his parents moseleum, and finding black blood running out of the coffin drawer.  He touches it, and then a demonic vampire bat busts through.  Bruce wakes up (beside a beauty we never see) and goes to talk to Alfred.  They are in some kind of glass room overlooking water. He takes a look at his batsuit, and glances up where we see Robin’s costume, defaced with graffiti that we all know was done by the Joker.   Alfred remarks that Bruce Wayne has been doing most of the detective work lately.  Bruce says “Bruce Wayne can’t break into Lexcorp.”  (By now, Batman thinks Lex Luthor is the White Portuguese).  Alfred says that he won’t have to break in, that he has actually been invited!

This scene shows us some of the dynamic between Alfred and Bruce.  Apparently, Alfred has been pressuring Bruce to produce a child.  (He would be the godfather.)  But Bruce won’t ever settle down.  The scene is almost a carbon copy of this scene from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.  (bottom panel)

IMG_0464

The next scene is at the party, where Bruce was invited.  It is a social grace, honoring Lex for generously giving to the library.  Lex has to give a speech, and he spouts out all kinds of nonsense, starting with Prometheus stealing the fire from the gods and then being hit with a thunderbolt by Zeus.

Clark Kent approaches Bruce Wayne to directly ask him about the Gotham Bat breaking the law and trampling civil liberties.  (He can hear Bruce talking to Alfred…no amount of whispering into a transmitter can be missed when you have Superman’s hearing.)  Bruce talks about Superman saving cats and then being applauded as the friendly alien.  Then he says that Gotham has a problem with freaks dressed as clowns.  (A reference to the Joker.)

Lex Luthor highlights their meeting, saying Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, together!  At this point I have to wonder does Lex know what he is doing?  Apparently he does, later in the movie he blatantly knows Clark is Superman, and he’s been baiting Batman through Bruce Wayne’s company channels.  He says to Bruce, our companies should get together.  My research and development department is up to no good!  All of us comics fans know there couldn’t be a truer statement!

In all of this, Bruce was able to get away and get one of those drive cloning devices onto one of Lex’s servers.  But before he can retrieve it, Diana Troy steals it.  She gets away before he can catch her.  Clark gets distracted…a news story about The Day of the Dead celebration in (Mexico?) has tragedy striking…a building is exploding and a little girl is about to die.  So he goes away.

We see him rescue that girl.  And then the astronauts in a rocket that exploded.  And then some flood victims who drew the S symbol on the roof…(A reverse bat symbol idea!)  The news people are talking and debating about whether Superman is a good thing or not, referring to the incident in Africa.

Lex bails Wally out of jail, and gives him a motorized wheelchair….

Then we get the Knightmare 2.

Batman is in the desert.  Or what appears to be the desert.  On the ground is the symbol “Omega,” the symbol of Darkseid.  Batman gets on a cargo truck…he is surrounded by armed men.  It looks like he thinks he is getting some Kryptonite out of a box.  But it is just two green lightbulbs with a rustic battery.  Upon this revelation, the armed men attack him.  He defeats them for the most part.  Then it is clear that they are wearing the Superman “S” on their sleeve.  An odd twist.  What could only be parademons barge in and begin to pick off the Superman army men.  And then Superman appears in the sky, and uses his heat vision to cause some destruction.  He rips the mask off of Batman, revealing Bruce Wayne underneath.  He says to Bruce, “She was my world, and YOU TOOK HER FROM ME!”  Bruce awakens from this vision, only to see who could only be The Flash struggling to get a message to him from inside the speed force.  His message is “Lois Lane is the key.  Your were right to fear him.  You have to get the stone.”  (maybe I didn’t hear that last part right.)  Batman wakes up like nothing happened.

WHEEE EWWWE

What just happened?

This is the beginning of an eventual tangle with Darkseid!  The Flash can time travel.  (Little known to those outside of the comic stories.)  And at least recently, after he set things back “correctly” after the Flashpoint story in the comics, The Flash appeared to Bruce Wayne with a letter from Thomas Wayne, the Batman of the Flashpoint timeline.  That letter was to encourage Bruce.  And it changed his outlook.  A little.  Not much.

Knightmare 2 is exactly this.  A different message though.  The Flash has time traveled to the past to give Bruce a message that WILL BE pertinent in an upcoming movie.  The vision  showed a wasted future where Batman is fighting for humanity against Darkseid, who has Superman as his chief general!  The message must be referring to Lois Lane, being right to fear Superman, and getting Kryptonite.  Two other stones could be important.  Victor Stone is Cyborg.  Or maybe the would be engagement ring between Clark and Lois.  Maybe it’s something else entirely.  Maybe I didn’t hear it right.  Maybe he was saying “Am I too soon?”

When I saw this the first time, I was blown away.  I made extra sure to see the details on my second viewing.  And it paid off!  The Flash we see here is unlike the other Flash costume’s we’ve seen.  This could be a Flash from the multiverse!  Movies are always messing with costumes, though.  So we’ll see.

I guess I can move on now.  But a lot was here in that scene, oh Hub City Geeks!

Batman wakes up from his vision, and reveals to Alfred that the White Portuguese is a ship, not a man.  Alfred then nudges Bruce to tell him what the ship is really carrying.  Bruce describes the Kryptonite, and how Lex Luthor wants to weaponize it.  Alfred assumes that Bruce wants the Kryptonite so he can destroy it and prevent Lex Luthor from making a weapon.  But Batman wants it in order to go to war with Superman.  He says “That SOB brought the war to us.”  He insists that Batman isn’t a “good guy.”

Bruce goes to the docks.  And lots of memories of many comics where Batman stops weapons shipments and other threats at the docks suddenly come to mind.  We see him wielding a GUN!  Troublesome…at this point we saw him use a gun on another person in his second Knightmare , but that was a vision, so we could cut him some slack.  (Even if true, a battle with Darkseids forces would probably require real firepower.)  But here he is holding what is clearly a sniper rifle of some sort.

He actually uses it to shoot a tracer to the cargo.  Whew…what a relief!  (Don’t hold your breath too long.)

Enter the obligatory Batmobile chase scene.  This car is similar to the sportier models found in the comics.  It has some hint of the “tumbler” design.  It shoots guns.  And fires missiles.  We’ve seen Batmobiles do this before.  But this time it seems to be combat rather than utility.  The other thing about this chase…it is soul-less.  Maybe it is because this is something we’ve seen so much of cinematically.

We see the Batmoblie take all sorts of abuse.  And for just about the only joke in the movie.  Superman lands and kicks it…critically disabling the supercar.  (It has been through explosions, crashes, gunfire, bazooka shots, a boat collapsing on it.)  Just like it was nothing.  A soccer ball or something.  Superman kicks it against the side of the adjacent building, and Batman climbs out in a shower of sparks and fire.  Superman says, “The Bat is dead.  Bury it.”

Batman drives the handicapped car back to his Batcave…we see the remains of Wayne Manor as he passes by.  Wayne Manor is burned down in this continuity!  When he gets to the Batcave, he sees that the tracer leads to Lexcorp.

Lex Luthor, the brilliant villain, has pulled all the right strings.  He has had Wally tug at the heartstrings of the senator.  (The one who blocked his permit to import the Kryptonite.)  She publicly implores in a press conference for Superman to come to the US Capital building, and address the Senate and see some of the victims that were the result of some of his actions.

Superman goes to see his mother, who tells him once again (as she did in Man of Steel) that he owes this world nothing.  It is his decision, of course.

Superman appears at the capital the next day, and this is televised.  Bruce Wayne is watching, and sees Wally.  He immediately wonders why Wally isn’t getting a paycheck as he tells his sob story.  Turns out all of the paychecks have been returned, with hate messages written on them.  He then opens the most recent one, and it says “You let your family die!”  The senator is talking to Superman, and she eyes a jar at the edge of her table…labeled with something.  She turns it to reveal “Granny’s Peach Tea.”  She looks at Lex Luthor’s assigned seat to see he isn’t there, and as she must be realizing the trap, an explosion emanates from Wally and his wheelchair.  The explosion killed everyone in the room, except Superman.

We see a shot of Superman looking shocked…he should be crying though.  I wonder why they didn’t have him break down?  That would have been more fitting to the character.  The whole senate just bit the big one!  And it was all a trap to get him.

Superman isn’t Spiderman.  He isn’t so much driven by guilt.  Just the same, this was one of the weak spots for Henry Cavil’s Superman.  Superman tells Lois, “I didn’t see it, because I wasn’t looking.”  This tells us that he clearly could have prevented the mass tragedy.  I imagine it could have been him moving lightning quick to get Wally out of the chair and throwing the chair into the air above the building, exploding out of reach.  Superman would have smelled like a rose.  Instead, we get this tragedy.

Why wasn’t Lex in his chair?  He was busy!  He glued General Zod’s fingerprints to his fingertips, and gained access to the Kryptonian ship.  He removed the key from the genesis chamber and we hear it say that it contains the knowledge of 100,000 worlds, to which Lex replies, “Teach Me!”

Eventually we see him place General Zod’s body in the liquid, and then cut his hand to pour his blood into the chamber.  Lex Luthor overrides the warnings that the ship is giving, and instructs it to create a”Kryptonian Deformity.”

The capital incident was too much.  Bruce begins training and forging for a huge battle with Superman.  He takes a break, and has a look in the disk drive (returned to him by Diana Troy…she couldn’t break the military grade cypher.)  He finds a folder that says “Metahumans.”  He clicks on the “W” and finds Diana’s photo from a Belgian newspaper in 1918!  This means she is OOOLLLDDD.  We don’t know the extent of this Wonder Woman.  Is she an Amazon?  Is she a goddess?  Many of our questions about Wonder Woman will linger past this movie.

We see a mopey scene of Clark Kent walking in the arctic.  Us comics and Superman fans know that this is something Superman does.  Fortress of Solitude, anyone?  He encounters a vision of his own…Johnathan Kent is working away in the middle of the North Pole!  He tells Clark the story of how he saved his farm as a kid by diverting a flooding river…only to find the next day that the river flooded a farm downstream…and that he could hear the horses screaming in his nightmares.

Bruce and Alfred go to the burned Wayne Manor, where Bruce reveals the origins of the Wayne name include a history of hunters.  (The Wayne family shield includes a sword and a sheep.)

The next scene shows Martha Kent taking out some trash to the dumpster behind her workplace, where she is ambushed and captured.  Batman decides to suit up and fire up the Bat-signal.  (This is one of those scenes where we wonder how far away Gotham and Metropolis are.)  And Anatoli kidnaps Lois Lane, and brings her to the top of Lex Luthor’s tower.

Forces are coming together to force the hand of both Superman and Batman.  Superman has been missing in action for days since the explosion.  So Lex provides some motivation by shoving Lois off of the tower.  OF COURSE Superman saves her.  But she should have warned him that it was a trap.  When he confronts Lex about his actions, Lex lets on that he knows Clark Kent is Superman.  He tells him (loosely) that “God cannot be all powerful and all good at the same time.”  He intends to prove it by forcing Superman to fight and kill Batman, otherwise Martha Kent will be killed.  “Kill the Bat and Martha lives.  God bends to my will.”  Lex throws polaroid pictures of her in captivity gagged at him.  And now we see Superman break down.

Lightning begins to project from the Kryptonian ship site.  (Just in time.)

We see a quick flashback, as Bruce is talking to Diana Troy  (It is from her point of view.).  He tells her that there is no way that the photo was hers…but it was OF her.  We see her click on the METAHUMAN (actually Meta_Human) folder and see “red streak”.  The Flash stopping a gas station robbery.  Aqua man, who is coming out of something in the ocean holding a trident.  This Aquaman is different looking than we’ve ever seen him.  Lots of tattoos, and dark hair.  Hispanic?  and then we actually see the origin of Cyborg…Dr. Stone is video logging his progress with a body (that we know is his son)…this is really only the upper torso.  He adds a cube of moving metal, (nanites?) (Mother Box?) and they consume that body and transform him into Cyborg right there in front of our eyes.  WOW!

So the fight between Superman and Batman begins.  Going into this I could already tell you that Batman was going to win.  He generally does.  If Superman can be weakened, he has no training as a fighter.  And that is exactly what happens, to make a long story short.  What we see that is new is the the way that Batman goes about setting a trap for Superman.  He pretty well baits him, and then hits him with Kryptonite gas, then goes off on his head for awhile until the effect of the gas wears off.  Then he has to hit him with it again.  Batman’s “hulk buster” style armor is terrific, but it really doesn’t stack up to the fully powered Superman.  Eventually, he outclasses Clark, and has a pure kryptonite spear about make the kill…he even cuts his face with it.  But Lois barges in, just as Clark utters “Save Martha.”  This stuns Bruce, and Lois explains that Martha is his mother’s name.  Bruce is shocked, realizing that they have something very basic in common…their mother’s names were/are both Martha.

This moment was set up from the beginning of the movie…remember!

Batman and Superman both decide what to do.  Batman will save Martha, while Superman will stop Lex Luthor and whatever is going on at the Kryptonian ship.  (Power outages are happening, and people are suspecting a terrorist attack)

As they depart, Lois picks up the Kryptonite spear and throws it into a fountain or pool.  (Water of some sort.  This battlefield was in some ruins.)  Isn’t there some president for this…the first Superman movie in the 1980s?

I love the scene where Batman rescues Martha Kent.  It is straight out of “Batman: Arkham Asylum.”  Alfred remote pilots the Batjet to let Batman in on the floor beneath the bad guys.  Batman then systematically takes out all of the thugs, leaving only Anatoli there with a flamethrower aimed a Martha.  Batman ignites the gas pack and jumps onto Martha, covering her with his cape, which is apparently fire proof!

As Superman shows up at the Kryptonian ship, Lex says “You’re thirty seconds late and I don’t see a Bat head.  If Man won’t kill God, the Devil will do it.”  Doomsday emerges from the genesis chamber!

Superman is clearly matched evenly with Doomsday at first.  IT doesn’t take long before things start to tip in favor of the huge monster.

Some military types decide to call the president and get permission to nuke Doomsday, as Superman launches him into space.  So they do it.  They shouldn’t have…this version of Doomsday absorbs energy and weaponizes it!  They basically wound up knocking Superman out.  Doomsday came back to the earth, and in what may be the film’s second joke, Batman says “OH SH!#!”  as Doomsday peels his skin off and is growing his classic bony spikes.  Luckily, Wonder Woman decides to bust in just as Batman almost takes the full blast of Doomsday’s heat vision/breath.  And because he has been nuked, now he can send charged radioactive electrical burst out that can take out city blocks at a time…

Wonder Woman is great…you should see her chop at Doomsday with her sword, and she also lassos him.  Her power seems at least as strong as Superman.  This is good…maybe we will see a Thor type of story associated with Wonder Woman.  A super human not created by science, but rather from a mystical source.

As the sun appears over the horizon of the Earth, we see Superman re-energized.  (Superman is powered by the sun…remember?)

As Superman arrives, the three heroes decide to use the Kryptonite spear against Doomsday.  Lois goes to get it, but almost drowns, and as Superman is fighting Doomsday, he can hear her struggling.  He takes another break to go and save her.  He nearly drowns himself, crippled by the Kryptonite.  He then decides to take the spear directly to Doomsday.

We have a huge ending…Superman succeeds in stabbing the monster, who is distracted by Kryptonite Gas shot at it by Batman.  Wonder Woman has cut off Doomsday’s hand, and in its place a long bony spear has been growing, which he uses to impale Superman.  So just like the comics, the two die together.

We see Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lois standing over Superman’s lifeless body.

The next scenes wrap up things in a bow.  Lex Luther is arrested and gets his head shaved.  There are two funerals for Superman…one of an empty box with much fanfare for the public, and the other with Clark Kent’s body, a private ceremony where it appears only Martha, Lois, Bruce, and Diana are attending.  In a flashback, we see Martha bring an engagement ring to Lois.  We see the classic “S” coffin from “The Death of Superman” books in the early 1990’s.  And then some graffiti at his memorial, which could only have been done by Batman.  “If you seek his monument, look around you.”

Bruce tells Diana that the others “like them” will have to come together to work as a team.  She wonders why.  And this is a good question.  Batman knows about Darkseid?

The final scenes of the movie are also very powerful.  Lex Luthor is instructed to place his head against the wall and have his arms where they can be seen.  The lights go out, and behind him suddenly stands Batman in the cell alone with Lex.  He has the brand in hand, ready to deliver.  But Lex isn’t even scared.  He says “The bell has been rung among the stars.  It cannot be un-rung.  He’s coming. Ding, Ding, Ding.”  Ultra creepy.  Batman punches the wall, leaving the bat symbol.

The final scene of the film shows people working in Lex’s father’s room, and the painting has been redone, with the devil throwing the angel out of heaven.

And right before the credits, Lois drops the first handful of grave-dirt onto Clark’s coffin, and then as the credits are just about to begin, we see the dirt fly up!  (Superman lives, of course.)

What’s with “the bell rung among the stars.”  I believe this is a partial reference to “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”  But an inversion.  “God is not dead nor doth He sleep.”  Now it is the bell cannot be un-rung.  Let’s not forget, Darkseid is one of “the new gods.”  And that “ding ding ding.”  I speculate this to be the sound of the Mother Box.  It is usually described as “ping, ping, ping.”  Lex has somehow summoned Darkseid when he encountered the “knowledge of 100,000 worlds.”  Either that, or the amount of power unleashed by the fight between Doomsday and Superman plus the nuke was enough to “ring a bell among the stars.”

Who knows!

My final thoughts about this film…

There is a sub-narrative.  Man vs. God.  Only crazy Lex Luthor really highlights it.  But this movie portrays Batman as the man.  Superman as the god.  Lex is trying to make the ultimate humanistic point by forcing the two to fight.  Other references…at the beginning when Alfred describes “gods coming down from the sky” in reference to Superman.  And Wally spray painting “false god” on Superman’s monument.  And Perry White’s headline “Love affair with Man in the Sky”.  There are lots of religious references.  Are there too many?  I tend to like movies that do this, so I say “no.”

This movie is huge.  It needed more comedy.  I have the solution.  LET IT BE KNOWN THE SPARTANNERD HAS THE SOLUTION!  There is enough plot here to make THREE MOVIES.  Rather than give us this two and a half hour monstrosity, they could have added more jokes, and made three hour and a half movies.  Act One…Set the characters up.  Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent could have used more character development.)  Act two…heat up the feud between Batman and Superman.  Save the capital explosion for this movie.  Act Three…bring the big fight, and bring Doomsday in and kill off Superman.  Along the way you could have developed Diana Troy/Wonder Woman a little more.  (Solving the problem of Wonder Woman not having any movies.)

This would have worked better.  The dialogue could afford to be lighter, and the characters better developed.  If Batman uses guns, we should know why.  If Robin was killed, we could have more details.  Maybe even a flashback.  (This would be NEW for the movies…unlike the death of the Wayne family.)

As much as I love this movie, I can’t deny it has these problems.  And there is HUGE critical backlash from critics (who never say good things about Superhero movies), but we are hearing backlash from the non-comic reading public at large.  We finally have a near perfect DC comic in movie form, and it is getting eaten up.  It was record breaking in the box office, but I fear the negative press is making it fizzle.  My own dad said “I heard that movie was a bomb!”  It isn’t.  It isn’t “lovable.”  Deadpool, Iron Man, Spider-man, Thor, the raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant Man…these are lovable.  DC has brought us a serious, brooding, “better read every word” comic to life.  Which is great.  But it might not be what people want.  Even the 1989 Batman had jokes!  “I bought it in Japan.”  “Looks like you weigh a little more than 108.”  “Ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light.  I ask that of all my prey.  I like the way it sounds.”  “Where does he get those wonderful toys?!”  The list goes on and on.  And I’d bet all of my readers recognize every joke.  Christopher Reeves’ Superman was even campy.  “Hey.  It’s Mozart!”  He kisses Lois and she forgets that Clark is Superman.  Where is there room for campiness in this move?  That is an element that can be played up appropriately in modern superhero movies.

Suicide Squad…HELP!!!

If Suicide  Squad fails, I believe the DC Cinematic Universe might die with it.  There might not be a Justice League movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SpartanNerd Review-Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Long time no blog….Should I drop some spoilers?  Not yet.  But I will give you some overall thoughts.

 

This movie is serious.  It is for the DC Comics fan.  It is long.  And it sets the stage for upcoming movies.  Exactly like DC does with its comics.  (Teasers for Convergence were WAY back in Action Comics at the beginning of The New 52.)

 

Since I am a comics fan, and have been vested in DC for several years, most recently absorbing all of the New 52 Batman stuff, I enjoyed this movie.  I had to explain a few things to the SpartanKid, who hasn’t been as invested as me.  (He just reads Sonic the Hedgehog and Megaman.)

 

(There is an odd scene where Batman is using a gun on some thugs.  I had to explain what was happening.  “Batman doesn’t use guns.”  And the way that scene ended with the what was apparently The Flash giving a warning.  This was obviously a reference to “The Flashpoint.”  There were other occasions, as well.)

 

The other BIG THING.  I think this movie has the best portrayal of Lex Luthor.  EVER.  He is totally psycho.  And he twists Christian imagery in a way to mock Superman as a “god.”  I especially like how he inverted the lyrics of “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” with his final words being “Ding, dong, ding dong.”  Wow.  And switching the painting to show Lucifer throwing Michael out of heaven.  At least to the SpartanNerd, who is is HUGE FAN of that image, (the correct image where Michael is the victor will likely be my tattoo someday.) this was storytelling genius.

 

Ben Affleck was OK as Bruce Wayne and Batman.  Henry Cavil was the same Superman as he was in The Man of Steel, but much moodier.  This Batman was definitely not the same that we saw in Christopher Nolan’s films.  A Frank Miller inspired anti-hero, not such a good guy.  And then there was Wonder Woman.  Maybe the one who carried her role as a super hero was Gal Gadot.  Who is/was she anyway?  She was a knockout.  I almost thought she was The White Rabbit from “The Dark Knight” comics a few years ago.  A stunning, foreign beauty.  And she swung that sword exactly like Wonder Woman should.

 

Should I give away more?  There was the obligatory Batmobile chase scene.  There was massive city destruction.  We have all seen Robin’s costume spray painted up in teaser images…there is some reference to The joker in this film.  I have summed it up and given you the essence of the movie with few details.

 

I recommend it if you like DC Comics.  I recommend it if you like Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman.  I suggest you sit this one out if you are looking for a Marvel movie.  Like the Man of Steel before it, there are few laughing moments.  I am also unsure how much you might not understand if you didn’t see Man of Steel.  There is mass reference to that movie in this film.  I only saw that movie once…I loved the Kryptonian scenes, etc.  But this movie depends on having some knowledge of what happened in that movie.

 

I rate Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice 5/5, being a DC Comics fan, and owner of every Batman/Superman comic since they began printing them in The New 52.  (I am referencing the comic where they work together, mostly against Darkseid’s daughter.)  You might disagree with me if you were looking for Thor, Deadpool, or Spiderman.  So I would like your opinion, Hub City Geeks!  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd Movie Review….”Noah”

 

I went into this movie with a biased opinion shoved at me already….”That is a good movie, but….”  Following the “but” would be “It’s not accurate to the Bible.” or “It was a drama about the people around Noah and the flood.” and even “God isn’t even mentioned in the movie.”

 

But all of these are true!  That doesn’t make this a bad film.  It is a fantasy.  If you take it as a fantasy grounded in what the Bible and other sources supply, then you can enjoy the movie.  If you can’t have an open mind and allow the filmmakers and actors to have some artistic license, then this film isn’t for you.

 

So here is my review.  Spoilers ahead!

 

I saw “Noah” in the cheapskate matinee theater for $2.00.  The picture was clear and clean.  The sound was good.  But there were a ton of commercials and previews before the movie.  TOOO MANNNYYYYY!!!!!!

When the movie finally began, we get a short scene from Noah’s childhood, and we get a brief creation story, which is repeated several times.  I like the nature of this story…It would have been handed down generation after generation in this way orally.  We see it repeated several times throughout the film in varying detail.  Always God is referred to as “The Creator.”  And he is revered and respected by most, in a way that shows paranoid fear….the way early Old Testament folks would have thought of him.  Nothing at all like our loving Jesus.  More like and angry, vengeful, unreasonable God.

The Earth is a very wicked place in this movie.  This is one of the strong things about the film.  Mankind is eating itself, literally.  The people are all presented as barbarians, killing in order to survive.  There are several cities mentioned in the story, but they are all destroyed by their inhabitants or judged by God.  (Apparently.)  The land is barren, with trees cleared away.  And evidently man also doesn’t know how to farm or to raise animals to eat or sale.  (This is a contrast to the Bible…Noah was instructed to take animals for food and sacrifice on the Ark in the Bible.)

There is another starling addition…”The Watchers.”  If you read your Bible, you find that it says “There were giants in the land.”  More in depth study reveals “the Nephalim.”  This film interprets them as fallen angels, cursed to be encased in rocks by God for trying to help Man on his way from the fall in the Garden of Eden.  This becomes an important plot point later.  It is with these Watchers that some of the most creative license is used.  The way they are animated, they remind me of Michael Bay’s transformers.

Noah clearly is presented as a prophet.  He has visions from God, but can’t explain or interpret them.  Here is one of the things that rubbed me wrong…He goes to see his grandfather, Methuselah, (Bible scholars will know him as the oldest man recorded in the word.,) and the old guy drugs him with some tea…tea that lets him see clearly what God is trying to say.  To me, this is a unacceptable insertion of a New Age idea….To me, Noah would have fasted and sanctified himself for days in order to understand God’s message.  But I enjoyed this spin as artistic license, I suppose.

Armed with the knowledge of how God is going to judge the world, he instructs his family to build the ark, and enlists the help of the Watchers.

There is this nursery picture that most people will be familiar with.  The ark on a hill.  The animals walking two by two into the ark.  Etc.  NOT IN THIS MOVIE!  The animals come as a miracle.  a flock of all different birds come flying in.  And Noah and his wife know how to make them sleep for days and days by mixing up some mystical new-age incense.  Here is a spin I never saw coming.  And then the snakes and bugs come, and then the mammals come.  They all get pacified so that they are no trouble at all for Noah and his crew.  A truly different spin on one of the big problems to solve in this story.

After the animals arrive, the other humans of the world enter as a big problem.  Tubal-Cain, the “king of the world,” threatens to take the Ark.  The Watchers have Noah’s back, so that’s that.

Noah has three sons…Shem, Ham, and Japeth.  The film portrays Ham as the worst son.  He wants to have a wife.  Noah can’t find a wife for him.  And when he sees how bad things are in the “cities,” now mobs of violent hungry people, he takes it that God wants all of men to die out, including him and his family.

Long story short, right as it starts to rain, Ham is trying to find a woman, Noah causes him to leave her to be trampled by the horde of people moving on the Ark…Everyone except Noah and his family make it on the Ark…ut Tubal-Cain becomes a stowaway.  He takes a new role as the devil for Ham, who wants  revenge against his father.  Tubal-Cain also does the forbidden, in killing the animals and eating them, (causing extinction.)  Shem’s girlfriend (played by Emma “Hermione” Watson,) is pregnant, Noah thinks he has to kill the baby, (Turns out to be twin girls..wives for his two children who have no female companionship.)  The climax of this drama, Tubal-Cain tries to kill Noah, manipulating Ham…right as the children are born and the rain stops.

The movie really builds a strong climax…

I never think about the character of Noah as a negative kind of guy.  Certainly, he wasn’t perfect.  But this film shows him as losing his sanity, he has it in his mind to kill those babies.  And the mvid does everything in it’s power to build that tension to a head.  When you think the knife is going into that babies head, you actually see it go down, but Noah kisses the child instead, and at the end bestows his blessing on the two children.

 

Rating this movie is hard….As Hollywood’s secular take on Noah’s story as a fantasy and drama, it has to get a 5/5.

But taken as a Biblically sound movie, it gets a 2/5, the 2 points comes for great acting and special effects.  I took my 8 year old SpartanSmurf #2…And I knew that I was going to have to do a lot of explaining about the truth and the artistic license in this film.

 

Overall, I liked it like I like “Star Wars” and “Avatar.”  Not like I like “The Bible” TV series, or “The Passion of the Christ.”  What do you think, oh Hub City Geeks?  Am I being fair and accurate?  Let me know!