Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Dawn Of Justice – The Ultimate Case (Part-2)

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This part will touch some more important issues and aspects related to the film Batman v Superman (BatSup). Before I begin, I must remind the readers here that this blog is continuity to the previous blog. So the first timers of the ultimate case here should first read the previous part here.

BEST SCENES

 

1) COLLAPSE OF WAYNE BUILDING

Although it was General Zod‘s wrath on Metropolis as Mr. False God tried to avoid as many casualties as he can but it was too late and severe was the collateral damage. One of the damages perforated the owner and made his mind to save the entire human race from the culprit even if there was a 1% chance. The visual presentation of the collapse was intense and powerful. And the collapse was where the rivalry came to birth. Scenes after the collapse will remind the comic readers the story-lines, Batman: Cataclysm and Batman: Aftershock.

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2) GRANNY’S PEACH TEA

No matter how bad was Shah Rukh as Lex Luthor, he did a cruel favor to Senator Finch and viewers by teaching a very expensive lesson. The court hearings abruptly paused by the scared Senator when she witnessed the jar. To the standards of a deceiving villain, this was unpredictably more than a cruel punishment. Luthor played an astonishing strategy behind the scenes and successfully manipulated much of the outsiders of court to gash more hatred towards a False God.

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3) BRUCE WAYNE’S WORKOUT

The Batman of 40s cannot offer you much of the 127 styles of martial arts he learnt in young age in his prime fighting career but he performed impressive workouts which was highly necessary to present.

4) THE GLADIATOR MATCH

This was the match written in the clouds. As Lex played the role of Michael Buffer by announcing and adding more spice by billing the fight as God versus Man, Day versus Night, Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham, this created more intensity. Result? I found a much heavenly comfort to see the fight between the iconic heroes and that turned out to be jubilant. The fight surpassed my expectations. This is exactly what we all needed. Plus the glimpse of fight is somewhere similar to the writings of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. One cannot ask for a better fight between God and man than this.

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5) ARRIVAL OF WONDER WOMAN

As much as Lex proved an overacting jester to me, his creation shattered the level of curiosity to know him. Doomsday was Lex’s answer to destroy the MOS. The battle was deadly but it was more like a hard struggle of lowering down the sound knob of stereo system when it is the loudest when you are very far and your parents are about to enter home.

Anyhow the battle met its peak at the sudden arrival of Wonder Woman who as Diana Prince was walking hither and thither before. I would say the flow of that battle action sequence was so deep to me that I couldn’t realize that the one who saved poor Batman’s ass from Doom-Doom wouldn’t be the recharge Superman on the space but her. Wonder Woman theme was very impressive but the intro of WW was far better than the other two heroes in the film.

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WHY BATSUP DIDN’T COME UP TO THE EXPECTATION?

 

1) DEADPOOL

Not many have noticed and tried to analyze as what exactly made the response of general public so negative. What deceived them? Why did the film with so many promises become unacceptable? In my view, the first reason was the funny guy in the red suit. Deadpool was released a month prior to BatSup. Being r-rated, Deadpool wasn’t a huge threat to the film’s business as Captain America: Civil War which was released after it. But Deadpool the superhero and Deadpool the film met an unexpected universal appraisal.

Contrary to philosophy and filmmaking of DCs, Deadpool was a highly entertaining popcorn grabbing comedy film which won heart of all age of viewers turning the tables wrong on the producers of BatSup who were prepared to show a very dark humorless presentation of the film a month later. Being the highest grossing r-rated film, such success built uninsured change in emotions among the viewers in tatters as the overjoyed viewers of Deadpool fell in their graves in the theaters to find the film awful. Naturally it was like watching any Terrence Malick film after any of Frat Pack films.

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2) UNDERSTANDING A UNIVERSE DIFFERENT THAN MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

Being a DC Comics lover, I have a lot of respect for Marvel comics as both the giant comics publishing companies created the most loving superheroes in the golden age for generations. But what hurts me is such a powerful cinematic universe of Marvel are more inclined towards box office collections than the character development of their superheroes. Filmmakers in MCU produce popcorn grabbing circus films where the focus is on winning hearts of the viewers by entertaining them. The producers are more focused on eating peanuts in circus rather than reading to us Marvel’s best comics stories. They make their superheroes jesters in the court. We see superheroes performing slapstick, acting silly and speaking one-liners. Films like Iron Man 3, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron were all funny films. Recently released Captain America: Civil War made a mockery of all involved major superheroes fighting in airport and joking/apologizing while punching each other.

As Marvel Studios were the first among the comics publishing companies to create a cinematic universe with the help of Walt Disney Studios, it became acceptable for viewers to recognize the films based on Marvel superheroes as the true comics cinematic industry. There was no competition in years as WB were focused on Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Trilogy. When The Dark Knight Rises was released,  MCU were concluding their first phase. This year with the release of BatSup, MCU have entered in their 3rd phase.

Many of the DC superheroes are not that universally recognized as Batman and Superman. Even the third hero of trinity who is Wonder Woman never got a single film before this in 75 years, so is the case with other heroes. So for the viewers, it will take time to understand the existence and culture of this universe and its heroes, and their powers and villains. It is pretty hard to expect their heroes to be as funny and perform slapstick as heroes existing in Marvel universe.

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3) IMPROPER CONSTRUCTION OF DCEU

After announcing the birth of their cinematic universe rival to MCU, the biggest challenge for the big bosses of DC/WB was to create a distinguished, recognized but an acceptable universe. WB lacks no finance to fund the DC films but it was all about the best brain creating a perfect theory before forwarding a proposal. For me the outcome was very strange and questionable.

In Oct.2014, when WB announced 10 DC films to be produced and released between 2016 and 2020, it was a massive disappointment to see every JL superhero gifted a solo film but not Batman! (Superman had his MOS before all this)

Besides that, film for Green Lantern, being such a beloved superhero among the comic readers was adjusted last which gave a hint that he will be introduced to us pretty late. Shazam indeed is a potential name but wasn’t DC’s original property in first place. Shazam character was created under Fawcett Comics and ran the issues until the company shut down. In 1972, DC publisher licensed Shazam from Fawcett and revived.

Two JL films were slated in different future timelines, the first part being the fourth in line to release even before solo films on Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg with no proper introductions which brought more confusions to understand their strategy towards assembling a team of heroes so early and so undefined with underdeveloped characters.

The reason why the story of BatSup to the viewers in theater fell so incoherent was the very reason described in previous paragraph that for assembling a team in so near future, they made the film look overstuffed.

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4) BRINGING TWO ICONIC HEROES FACE-OFF TOO EARLY

Indeed historic announcement of bringing BatSup together at San Diego comic-con three years ago was crazy which made the attendees and viewers lose their mind in excitement. But some brains surely began thinking as what made them brought none other than Batman in to Superman’s world? Was that their only key to challenge or announce a new universe rival to them?

Bringing Batman meant connecting two different worlds in same film with more than one story. With recent conclusion of Nolan’s trilogy, reintroducing Batman in mere four years was too early. Producers needed some more breathing to watch a new Batman. Nolan’s and Zack’s Batman were very different, could have been better if he had been given his own standalone film first and later introduced him to MOS.

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5) RELEASED PG-13 THEATRICAL CUT

This was the major reason why the film received negative reviews by critics and general public. A 150-minute film released in March worldwide offered us a confused broken story-line making every viewer Sherlock to magnify and puzzle the broken pieces himself/herself. The editor who chose to cut no less than 30 minutes lacerated very very critical and defining moments of the film due to the fact, the critics and general public turned clueless and gave up.

Had the producers decided to release the 182-minute original cut in first place, the critics would have penned positive reviews and would also have made the percentage bar rise above in Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. The general viewers would accept and the box office collections would definitely hit a billion-dollar mark. Like I said before, I waited months and watched the original cut at first place, and I admit that this version meticulously made more sense than the released one, defined the core characters more broad and created a more cohesive transition.

ADDITIONAL FOOTAGES IN ULTIMATE EDITION

 

Like I wrote above that many of the important scenes were badly cut from the released version. Let me notify you the deleted scenes proving the laziness of WB for forwarding the film without pointing or realizing what a terrible mistake that was;

1) Jimmy Olsen wasn’t introduced in the beginning.

2) Superman wasn’t shown helping the rescuers pulling out dead bodies after the blast in court which after that he flew in disdain and left the scene with the witnesses sharing negative responses.

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3) The very next scene, Lex Luthor rushed to LexCorp only to spot a damaged glass-box with no kryptonite. It never showed the viewers that Lex Luthor had seen the footage from one of the CCTV cameras that Batman entered the LexCorp office and grabbed the element. Had they shown this scene in released version, would make sense for viewers how in the world the Caped Crusader got the Kryptonite.

4) Both scenes featuring Jenna Malone was cut from the released version which made the viewers pay a very heavy price of dislikeness. Malone played the scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs, Jenet Klyburn, who has a couple of scenes in the film of sheer prominence. UE version clears that she is the one to whom Louis Lane hand over the bullet for scanning  which was shot and found in Africa.

In the other scene after the blast in court, it is again she who confirms that the same bullet and Wallace Keefe‘s wheelchair were made from the same metal and the inside of wheelchair was lined with lead. And we know Superman’s weakness that he can detect any solid object but not lead. Without this confirmation in released version, viewers would have raised the question how come Superman didn’t detect a bomb in the court.

5) The most important cut from the released version easily was the moment before the arrest of Lex Luthor which shows the upcoming JL villain Steppenwolf. His cameo before the arrest of Lex Luthor in UE was a very critical bombshell on the viewers after watching the whole film. WB will regret cutting this scene from the released version. An angry departure of his hologram existence after communicating with Lex Luthor raised questions. Was Lex aware of Steppenwolf’s existence even before he planned to take on Superman? Was Lex already in talks with him? Was creation of Doomsday idea of Lex or his? and many more. But in any case, his short appearance in ultimate edition made some sense of properly introducing the commander of parademons. The announcement of his being main villain was unnecessary if they had included this vital scene in released version.

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HOW DC EXTENDED UNIVERSE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CREATED AND PRESENTED?

 

Ok I know the existing universe will run as planned whatever the case is but I have every right to forward my idea of a better and acceptable universe than this. Because in first place, I disagree with the decided structure of this running cinematic universe due to the reasons I explained above in Improper Construction of DCEU.

I need no urgency or haste to play cat and mouse game in order to come close to Marvel and their universe. If WB would hand me this responsibility, I would prefer presenting origin stories of iconic heroes over a gladiator match and assembling of JL at the speed of light. My creation of universe will have phases (say Phase I, II, III and so on). For a better foundation, my pillars in Phase-I should be strong enough to hold the next phases.

My Phase-I will have 8 films, seven of these will be origins-based solo films for each original member of the JL. Those members are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. The reason of strictly picking these seven heroes for Phase-I is because when the first ever Justice League was assembled as JL or Justice League of America (JLA), the above-mentioned superheroes were assembled to appear in The Brave and the Bold (issue#28) back in 1960 conceived by writer Gardner Fox. With seven origins-based solo films, my eight and final Phase-I film will be a proper JL film where all the seven above-mentioned heroes will unite to fight against one of the main allies of Darkseid.

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This is the most simplest way to present a universe with more breathing in origins and character developments in superheroes each film. Just like MCU did for their first and the most impressive phase. By second and third phase, all seven superheroes can proceed to complete their trilogies with other films to introduce other potential superheroes like Green Arrow/Black Canary, Booster Gold/Blue Beetle, Shazam/Black Adam, Birds of Prey, Teen Titans, Supergirl, Hawkman/Hawkgirl, Lobo and many more.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FUTURE DC FILMS?

 

With 81% record drop in box office collections in second week, WB was hit by a meteorite with the most harsh responses and many of the viewers complained the film to be humorless. For the sake of excellent collections from future DC films, the producers are compromised to add humor in a dark universe and fulfill their demands, so that their eyes would meet a glimpse of a colorful circus show like the shows which are produced by Marvel studios. This is like a gunfire on an old pedestrian walking in a narrow street.

Some sources say that many scenes of upcoming Suicide Squad are re-shot for adding humor. Zack Snyder also has cleared that upcoming JL film will have a lighter tone than BatSup film. My expectations can raise the bar only if the upcoming films offer me potential stories and strong connectivity with storyline of other films keeping a balance between humor and dark. A serious story like BatSup cannot offer you humor but may entertain you once you understand the characters and their worlds.

For me, my major concern in future DC films is seducing me with dynamic presentation of stories where the directors properly focus on hero’s character development and nurture him/her with the flow. No matter the film is dark or funny, the director should use the influences and creativity of great comic writers and apply in their story, the winner must be the true portrayal of superhero and the audience should provide a positive response.

Roping and involving Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck for upcoming JL and Batman standalone films is a brilliant decision from WB. A creative team of comic-book consultants should be established under Johns who would have authority to raise their voice over the scripts and screenplays.

CONCLUSION

 

BatSup case is a mature affair with super-excellent work on screenplay and action sequences. The characters, Alfred and Lex Luthor, offer you to listen the best and powerful dialogues whereas performance-wise Ben Affleck as Batman is the true winner and his portrayal will remind you numerous Bruce Waynes from comic books. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Amy Adams as Lois Lane play tremendous supporting roles.

Henry Cavill as Superman is a dignified figure but not signified. He has been impressive but after finishing two superhero movies, I am still waiting for some signature mark on the character. He is yet to remind me Superman from the comic books as Christopher Reeve defined him in his time.

No wonder how many great actors have played the role of Alfred Pennyworth but none of them remind me the character I read in the comics. Not only the films, neither Alfred of Gotham TV show nor the one in the game Arkham Knight reminded me. Hans Zimmer (in his final superhero film) and Junkie XL produced very impressive scores. Zack’s favorite cinematographer Larry Fong has done terrific cinematography like previous Zack films.

I would like to humbly request all of you who have read such a lengthy review or to which I call an Ultimate Case, to kindly avoid/ignore the released version and consider it as a bad dream but give a favor to yourself and watch the Ultimate Edition. May the future DC films does Justice, Amen.

FILM RATINGS: 8.3/10

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Movie Review: Argo (2012)

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Palpable… Stupendous… Outrageous… and Manipulating…

Historically savaged and well plotted…

Phewwww what more words should I use to praise Ben Affleck’s subtle efforts in directing one of finest movies of Hollywood. 2012 movie ‘Argo’ was the winner of 3 Academy Awards including ‘Best Picture’ in the 85th Academy Awards.

‘Argo’ is based on true events related to ‘Iran Hostage Crisis’. This event came to uprising after overthrowing Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and return of Ruhollah Khomeini who later on, became country’s supreme leader and called the-then Jimmy Carter government ‘The Great Satan’.

According to Wikipedia sources, Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days (November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981), after a group of Iranian students supporting the Iranian Revolution took over the US Embassy in Tehran. Six of the Americans survived the uproar and hid in Canadian Embassy. This is what the movie is all about.

The movie is an adapted screenplay of two different sources. One is adaptation from Tony Mendez’s book ‘The Master of Disguise’ written in 1999, which speaks about his secret life working with CIA, most specifically this event. The other source is Joshuah Bearman’s 2007 Wired article The Great Escape.

Ben Affleck’s central character Tony Mendez is a true character who did actually work for CIA for more than 25 years. He single-handedly attempted the most audacious escape along with those six Americans from Tehran in the political history of USA and CIA chapter. To bring the Americans back, Tony proposed an idea that no one could have ever imagined. He created a cover story about the Americans that they were the Canadian crew of film production who recently landed Tehran scouting exotic locations for a sci-fi film!!!

To make this fake story look real, Mendez contacted academy-award winning Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers (Star Trek, Planet of the Apes) to merge with a local film producer in establishing a film-production company (pocket-moneyed by CIA of course), so that they can publicize a fake StarWars-kinda movie under the name ‘Argo’ to produce an enough chance of reliability of fake sources in Tehran. Bravoooo!!!! Bravooo Mendez Bravooo!!! Who could have ever planned this??? Imagine the weight of convincing the government officials to permit him this bizarre idea to work on which if the operation somehow failed, can cause a world outrage or even become a national embarrassment of mishandling security of escapees on a high scale.

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‘Argo’ is a drastic political thriller. The storytelling is a tremendous manifest and the flow of it is untiring. Operations in the movie are blood-boiling and hectic, specially the airport-scene in the last half an hour is where the adrenalin is beginning to make an impact on your blood circulation. This is one such complete movie where the beginning and ending scenes of the movie leave your eyeballs stare the screen and perturb. While the middle part is a scintillating presentation of socio-political drama. The viewer who grows deep in the movie will make himself/herself in escapee’s place for rest of the movie.

Dialogues are frank and goes more realistic in panic scenes. Cinematography is vivid as colors realistically represent the typical Persian outlook of the 70’s-80’s. Sound department and score of the movie is phenomenal. Casting? This is one of most impressive aspects of the movie because there lies a very minor difference between the real faces and the reel faces. Even many of critical scenes are true like the man on a height burning an american flag, press conference of the revolutionary group, death by hanging on a crane and many more.

Performances? Ben Affleck as actor-director of the movie has significantly done a highly justifying job. He is the one solely responsible for an amazing picture. Superb acting!!! ‘Breaking Bad’ fame Bryan Cranston is the second most impressive and I believe he deserved to be more popular and highly nominated than Alan Arkin as ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in many award functions.

I won’t say the events/scenes in the film are all 100% true. Simultaneously, I won’t deny the fictional nature of the movie, that also played a very prominent part. Tony Mendez’s idea of fake movie, Canadian film crew, fake advertising/publicity was all absolutely true. In this whole filmy idea and CIA operation, Alan Arkin’s character of Hollywood producer is the only which is actually fictional.

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Thing which became controversy or shall I say ignored, was the contribution of Canadian Embassy in this escape. The Canadian efforts in the movie were very short and Affleck focused more on Mendez-material. The American escapees stayed at residences of the-then Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor and a Canadian embassy employee, John Sheardown. The latter character never appeared in the movie which is indeed very surprising. Four of six Americans resided in Sheardown’s house for 79 days.

But Ken Taylor is the man hugely responsible for making the Americans flew. He is the one who eared the US government officials to initiate an escape plan to bring the Americans back home. That wasn’t enough of his contribution, he even trained the Americans speak in Canadian accent and also bought the airline tickets for them. Ken Taylor’s role played by Victor Garber in the movie sounded like Alfred Pennyworth role to Bruce Wayne, short and mind your own business.  

The blame on British and New Zealand embassies of not helping the escapees is untrue and despite those highly intensifying scenes at the airport, the bitter truth is that Mendez stated in his book a contrary. There were simply no complications at the airport and flew away with ease.

Historical accuracies and fictional behavior of film making are different things but to shoot them, you have to consider hundreds of times that what part should be included and what shouldn’t be. Keeping in mind the most critical aspects related to events were all true, Argo offers well-gripped spellbinding movie of its attained height. It is easy to relinquish a movie based on political thriller but Argo is a justification of conscience, for a viewer to decide on what part shall he/she flow and agree.

For more info on the true events and the best articles related to the movie, kindly click any of these:

How accurate is Argo?

Hollywood rewrites history again in Afflecks’ Argo.

This article below is one of the two bases mentioned above, on which Argo was made. This is a must read:

How the CIA used a fake Sci-Fi flick to rescue Americans from Tehran.

Ratings: 9.1/10

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