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BlokeBusting The Essentials #50: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Your deep dive into the top 100 Superhero films of all time!

#50: Batman Vs Superman

Or

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate…

We’re back! And I bet many of you are wondering how we went right from #100 to #50. Well, there’s a perfectly good explanation. This list’s only 3 films long! Ok, not really. Really we wanted to give you guys a taste of the whole list without you needing to wait until mid-year before hitting any of the films that you’re waiting to hear about. Essentially, moving forward, we will be going back and forth in the list. Our next (re)review will be #99, then #49, and so on. So don’t you worry, we’ve got this!

First Impressions

Right. This film was covered by myself and my podcasting partner on my podcast when it originally came out. At the time, we did not care for it. The plot holes were many, the acting felt “meh” (with a couple of glaring exceptions) and we left the cinema feeling very let down. For this list, we’re reviewing the Ultimate Edition (the 3 hour Director’s Cut), so I sat down to watch it once more. Did it change my mind? Well…

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LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain

LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain 2017

Even though I had just complained about the difficulty in reviewing these DC SuperHero Girls movies because they are so similar in nature, I still decided to watch and review another one back to back. At least this time I was pleasantly surprised by the return of the LEGO style humor that was laced throughout the movie that helped keep my interest up more than several of the previous iterations. There were a handful of fun little callbacks to the history of DC superheroes, but there were still issues with too much stuff going on and an overreliance on newly introduced supervillain Lena Luthor. Of the four of these SuperHero Girls movies that I’ve watched, I would say that this has been my favorite so far, but they’re all right around the same level of mediocre, but good for young girl superhero fans.

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DC SuperHero Girls: Intergalactic Games

DC SuperHero Girls: Intergalactic Games 2017

One thing that I realized while watching this movie is that it is going to be increasingly difficult to review more movies in this series without getting too repetitive. I’m going to try my best, but this is only the third of these movies that I’ve watched and I feel like I’ve already said everything that needs to be said in the previous two reviews. And there’s three more of these that have already come out left for me to watch and review. But while these aren’t the greatest in cinematic creation, they aren’t completely insufferable and they generally clock in at the standard for DC animated films being just an hour and fifteen minutes. The one thing that I am slightly curious about is if there is any continuity between the movies going forward, especially as they switch from regular animation in this movie to LEGO animation for the next several.

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Justice League

Justice League 2017

I’m not entirely sure what bug got into me, but I’ve been full speed ahead trying to catch up on the year (more or less) that I’ve missed writing on this site. This is one of the biggest films that I missed from last  year and while it made a decent amount of money, it was a pretty big disappointment for what a Justice League movie could have made. Out of the major superhero movie releases of the year, it was the second lowest grossing film just above Logan which was R-rated and it was the lowest grossing film of the entire DCEU. It was plagued by some behind the scenes nightmares like the tragic loss of Zack Snyder’s daughter midway through filming so that the film was finished by Joss Whedon. There was also the well documented issue with Henry Cavill being unable to shave his mustache for reshoots while filming the latest Mission Impossible which created some unnerving scenes of CGI hair-removal. The resulting chaos resulted in a rather chaotic movie that shifted in tone from the more serious and dramatic Zack Snyder films that came before it, and the more irreverent humor associated with Joss Whedon with a lack of overall cohesion. Some moments worked, but the team never quite came together as a whole.

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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman 2017

I have to say that it’s a great year for superhero cinema so far. We got an amazing send-off for Wolverine, a hilariously fun follow up to the Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy, and now we get not only our first female-led superhero film in over 12 years, but the first truly great one. Not only that, but it feels like it’s been a long time to get a hero from DC that feels so positive, hopeful, and truly heroic rather than someone overburdened by their responsibilities/failures. Director Patty Jenkins delivered a hero that stood out among her peers in every aspect, from the action to the drama and while the romance may have been slightly lacking, it’s not like it has much competition. And as with every review, but especially new releases, I may be discussing story elements that would be considered spoilers, so you have been warned.
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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman 1974

Continuing my month of the more obscure and cult superhero films I’m taking a look at probably the least well known version of a popular superhero going back to the first TV pilot of the Wonder Woman TV show. Most people are familiar with the popular Lynda Carter show from the 70’s, but before they cast Carter they actually shot, filmed, and aired a very different version of the show with actress Cathy Lee Crosby as Diana Prince. And while I haven’t really seen any full episodes of the Carter version aside from a few clips, this felt very different than what I would imagine the later show went on to be. It had much more of a serious tone to it and felt more like a detective show rather than a superhero show. She barely wore the costume, there were no special effects to show off any super powers to speak of, and there was actually quite a bit of death and danger. It was quite fascinating to look back at this version of the character even though it barely resembled anything I knew about Wonder Woman aside from her name and the name of Steve Trevor.
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Justice League vs. Teen Titans

It’s time for another entry in the DC Animated canon and they are continuing their fairly recent connected universe of films that tie together Batman and Robin with the Justice League movies aside from Gods and Monsters. This film follows the recent trend of naming superhero films based on having the heroes fight each other. At least this time there’s an element of mind control rather than a difference in ideology. As for my own experience with the Teen Titans themselves, I’ve seen a few episodes of Teen Titans, plenty of Teen Titans Go, but I’ve only seen the Blue Beetle in a single episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold. It felt like an odd fit considering that in the universe of this story, the Justice League is still quite young but the Teen Titans is already established. Though it does seem to be even newer than the Justice League. But aside from the specifics, this is a much better tone than the live action DC Universe and aside from a few minor nitpicks, I enjoyed the hell out of this one.
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Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Justice League: Gods and Monsters 2015

It’s time for me to catch up on some more slightly under the radar new releases that have slipped past me in the past couple months or so. The first one that I checked out is the latest in the neverending releases from DC Animation, this brings about the return of Bruce Timm as writer who was the head of animation during the days of Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and is more or less credited with making DC Animation the respected studio that it has become today. He has overseen much of the DC Animated universe as executive producer, but the last movie that was written by him goes all the way back to the first with Superman/Doomsday. Gods and Monsters takes an alternate universe look at what the Justice League could have been if things had turned out very differently for a lot of people. Here, the Justice League is a small group of superhumans who are respected to a certain extent, but mostly feared by the general public as a potential menace who destroys any enemies they come across. I’ve always enjoyed alternate universe stories, and while this one was fascinating, I often felt like I was missing something with my limited knowledge of the extended DC Universe.
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Lego Justice League vs. Bizarro League

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League 2015

Starting my unintentional batch of superhero movies intended for younger audiences with the latest home video Lego movie release. There’s been a small handful of these Lego home video releases, though many of them are extremely short. Even this one clocks in at just under an hour. If you’re familiar with the Lego brand of entertainment outside of just the Lego movie then you know that it is generally filled with a large number of rapid fire gags and jokes and Bizarro League is no different. It is a bit of a misnomer though, as the entire “vs” aspect of the movie is over within just a few minutes and instead the two groups spend most of their time working together to fight Darkseid. It’s by no means a great film that you should go seek out immediately, but if you have kids of your own, this is a great way to spend an hour together and I bet you will spend quite a bit of it laughing your minifig head off. There’s even a bit of a message buried under all the laughs.
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Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis 2015

And right onto the first new release of the year. This seems like it’s one of the first follow ups in the DC Animation home video releases as it almost directly follows last year’s Justice League: War. Even though Son of Batman was also part of DC’s New 52 continuity, that movie felt much more self-contained where this really felt like a sequel, especially when I did revisit War shortly before watching Throne of Atlantis. While Aquaman is often the butt of many jokes, he is actually a popular and powerful member of the Justice League and long since deserving of his own movie. There are a few jokes tossed at the king of the sea’s expense, but for the most part it’s a typical origin story with a very similar tone and feel to War, with a few of the same voice cast returning along with some new and familiar voices like Rosario Dawson who got upgraded from Artemis in the Wonder Woman movie to Wonder Woman herself, and Nathan Fillion returning to voice Green Lantern. I thought it was a decent sequel to War, but if there’s one aspect of superhero movies I have had my fill of, it’s origin stories and this didn’t really do anything different or interesting to set it apart from any of the dozens of other origin stories I’ve seen already.
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