Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

The Dark Knight vs. The Man of Steel

Batman vs SupermanI went to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice this week.  Although I’d heard lots of condemnation for the movie, I couldn’t resist the pull of the world’s two most famous superheroes on the big screen together.  Even if you have never read a comic book or seen a superhero movie, there’s a slightly better than average chance  you’ve at least heard of these two heavy-weights (one day I will have my sarcasm font!).  Is The Bat vs. Supes an Oscar award kind of venture?  No!  Who expects it to be?  That doesn’t mean it isn’t an entertaining trip to the theater.  Let’s set some reasonable expectations here.

This is not a happy go lucky film.  The title should give something of that away.  You have two good guys, superheroes no less, battling it out.  Did you think they were fighting over a broken GI Joe? (Wow, did I just date myself there.)  This movie throws what you conventionally think about the black and white world of the heroes in to nothing but shades of grey.  What happens if you look at the actions of each of these guys from the outside without the special privilege of inside information given to readers, movie-goers and television watchers through the decades?  Innocent die and mass destruction follows them like the stray animal your parents warned you about feeding because it wouldn’t go away.  As insiders into their stories and their worlds we know that while they are the front-man, the memorable face (or silhouette) of these tragedies, they don’t start them.  They’re there trying to prevent a bigger tragedy from befalling their city or the world.  The average citizen isn’t always privy to that information, and therefore neither is the opposition in this film.

At least that’s what I have to assume, because one of the big failings of this film, in my eyes, is the lack of effective set up for the conflict.  Half the movie is spent on backstory and build up with very little substance for the conflict or its resolution actually being conveyed to the audience.  They threw some tarnish on the uniforms of the two most recognizable superheroes in the world, tossed in a little backstory and asked us to believe that is enough to justify the conflict.  Did anyone out there NOT know that Bruce Wayne watched his parents get murdered when he was a kid? Could we not have replaced that little piece of the pie, nicely done though it was, with something that was a little more relevant to this story? (Unless you’re asking me to believe that the whole resolution of this conflict hinges on that two second scene.  When you watch it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

They tried to cram in an entire movie’s worth of setup for this conflict into the first half of Batman vs. Superman, and frankly, it came across as a little weak.  It isn’t like there isn’t enough story material to have added something else for each of these characters in between their last franchise film and this one to start feeding audiences hints of what’s to come.  It felt like they’d ditched all their previous efforts to build a successful franchise and started from scratch here, and there are some pretty big holes.

The second half of the film I really liked a lot.  The introduction of Wonder Woman into this cinematic universe was pretty much perfect, and although I’ve heard a lot of complaint about shoving too many characters down our throats too quickly as a set up for the announced Justice League movies.  It is as well done as I could have asked for, and it was believable in the context in which it was presented.

Could it have been better if they’d spread it out over several movies and formats the way Marvel has done?  Maybe, but DC isn’t Marvel.  This has actually come up in discussion quite a bit since I’ve seen the movie (which is impressive because that was on FRIDAY).  Is DC trying to create for itself a universe that spans television, movies, comic books, etc. the way Marvel has?  Well, who wouldn’t want their organization to be a wildly successful money-making machine of epic proportions?

They’re taking their own path to get there. Are choices such as not retaining a continuity of actors from the small screen to the large going to help them? (I’m looking at Barry Allen here)  Who knows?  It is hard not to compare the two houses who’ve given the world our favorite fictional heroes.  I’m trying to take each project on its own merits and see where the rest falls out.

‘Til next time,
Jessica

P.S. Everybody has an opinion about this one.  Tell me what you think?


First Look of Ben Affleck as Batman

First Look of Ben Affleck as Batman

Who was skeptical about Affleck playing Batman in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel? Zach Snyder tweeted a picture of the new Batmobile with the former Daredevil yesterday.  Although, we all know that looks aren’t everything when it comes to film (You can’t deny he was yummy in red leather for Daredevil.) This peek at the much talked about film is encouraging.  What do you think?
‘Til next time,

Jessica


The Book That Continued to Eat My Brain After I Finished It

9780307588364_p0_v1_s260x420Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

Last night (or early this morning, if you want to be technical), I finally finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Flynn weaves a well-crafted, engaging, and stupefying tale of two people who are…Messed.  Up. The recommendation to read this book came down the line through a couple of people, but what finally pulled me in was a comment made to a co-worker about the novel.  That referral went something like this “this woman is so evil you almost end up rooting for her by the end of the book.”  Okay, who could resist that?  Also, he wasn’t wrong.

The story follows Nick Dunne and Amy Elliot Dunne, and begins on their fifth wedding anniversary, the day Amy disappears.  Flynn does a great job of switching points of view with each chapter.  You hear both sides of the story, but is either side telling the truth?

Especially in the beginning, it is hard to determine who to trust.  Nick initially gets center stage for the simple fact that his point of view is immediate, and the reader is left with Amy’s diary entries to provide insight into her character.  Even going into this novel with the knowledge that this woman is “evil”, I found myself wondering, waffling…who is the “bad guy” really?

Nick and Amy are believable characters, for all of their dysfunction, but I wouldn’t call either one of them a reliable narrator.  They’ve filled their lives with lies…to everyone, including themselves, and sifting the truth from the lies is like panning for gold in a played out mine.  Just because it shines, doesn’t mean it’s worth anything.  By the end, I wondered if they were too damaged to even see the truth for themselves.

When you read this, find a buddy who has finished it (and won’t spoil it for you).  I needed to discuss this book as I went along.  Fortunately, I have some great co-workers who not only understand my craving for new fiction (and are willing suppliers) but had also read Gone Girl before me.  They gave me the freedom to storm their offices the every time I thought I’d made a revelation with an exposition on what I thought was going to happen next.  “Did Amy really….”, “I bet you that Nick is going to…”, and today “Seriously, these people are messed up.”

Would I recommend this book?  Oh yeah, baby.  It is definitely captivating and worth a read.  This is a novel that will stick with you.  I cannot stop thinking about these characters.  Questions keep spinning through my mind.  How did these people got to the place they ended up?  What must their childhoods have been like?  What kind of parents did they have…really?  All interspersed with, seriously, these people are messed up.  The only cure I can think of for this condition is another good novel…immediately.  Fortunately I have a stack of those at home.

First Lines: “When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.  The shape of it to begin with.  The very first time I saw her, it was the back of her head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it.”

Now, Gone Girl has been adapted for the screen.  The film will star Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne and Rosamund Pike as Amy Elliot Dunne.  Rosamund Pike may look familiar from movies such as,Jack Reacher, Pride & Prejudice,  Die Another Day and An Education (funny, I just watched that one a couple of weeks ago), and Affleck has starred in films like Good Will Hunting, Pearl Harbor  and won an Oscar for Argo, which he also directed.

 

With the screenplay also written by author, Gillian Flynn, I have no doubts the movie is going to be a great representation of the novel.  However, I have heard rumors that the ending has been changed.  As much as it pains me to say it, this may be one you want to read the book before the movie is released in October 2014.

‘Til next time, Jessica

P.S. Messed. Up.

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