Brightburn – Review

Let me get this out of the way before we start: I think Superman is a wet fart. He’s all powerful, like a god so should never actually struggle. He’s an annoying Goody Two-Shoes. I see him as a snowflake’s wet dream. But stripping away the poor execution, the dude has a cool origin story. There’s solid potential.

Why all this talk of Superman for a horror movie review? I hear you ask. It’s because the creators of Brightburn must also feel the same way about Supes. Sure, the premise is good, let’s just give it some beef. This leads to a cooler version of the Kents. Elizabeth Banks (fitter than any version of Martha Kent) plays the surrogate mother to the crash-landed alien. Brandon Breyer is our new Clark Kent, played by a Jackson A. Dunn you wouldn’t trust watering your plants.

He’s a creepy little shit, and his step-dad twigs on which leads to trouble in the family home. Not as much trouble as what’s heading the way of anyone who Bad Breyer takes a dislike to. His landing pod keeps attempting to make contact with him, sending spooky alien messages while he’s sleeping. Unlike the Krytonians, the planet Brandon’s from wants world domination.

Full props to the movie makers for producing this on such a tight budget. There is a fair amount of CGI but it never looks poor. The horror won’t have you jumping or squirming, it’s a little by-the-numbers but it’s a good alternative take on a superhero trope.

Director David Yarovesky is up next for DC, presumably making them reluctant to start lawsuits for a blatent ripoff of their leading property.

It’s worth checking out, if only because it serves as proof kids become a pain in the arse once they hit puberty.

7/10

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Justice League – Review

“You can’t save the world alone.” Great tagline. You might not be able to save the world alone, but you can destroy the universe (in this case, the DC Extended) by not having a singular vision.

DC’s problem with this shared movie experiment has been having the confidence to stick to its guns. Batman v Superman wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Fine, that’s what makes the world go ‘round – differences.

Marvel has its successful onscreen identify, DC used to have one too.

Justice League begins with the promise that Zack Snyder has mastered the darker but deeper roots of his characters. The Batman scenes work especially well and when the team are finally assembled there’s a Watchmen feel, which is no bad thing.

But there’s no getting away from the cut-and-shut feel of having two directors helm the movie. It’d be unfair to assume Joss Whedon tried to shoehorn his Avengers style on a near-finished product. The meddling obviously came from the studio.

We’re left with an opening that retains the best parts of Dawn of Justice, with the new members adding the correct amount of light. Ezra Miller’s Flash being the standout find. His humour is always on point, his quirkiness the balance the squad needs. Wonder Woman has been the world’s favourite new hero this year – Flash is the best.

It all starts well, from recruiting a reluctant Cyborg (Ray Fisher has his work cut out bringing this character to life), to the grisly and instantly at ease Aquaman. His backstory is teased in preparation for the solo movie and Jason Momoa looks more than capable of carrying that flick.

Gal Gadot is excellent again and acts as the light to Batman’s darkness (a role usually reserved for Superman). She’s the heart in what becomes a big soulless action mess.

The plot is Wonder Woman in style. We’re dealing with hidden boxes of godlike power that are being targeted by intergalactic CGI-baddie Steppenwolf. It’s pretty weak and lacking depth for a DC movie, and the CGI is terrible, but it’s okay. It’s all okay, until…

Superman returns. This is when a great movie with seeds planted in Batman v Superman (remember that Bruce Wayne/Flash “dream” sequence where he saw the world run by an evil Superman?) absolutely bottles it.

A hint of the Superman befitting with the plot is quickly discarded, the rewrites harder to hide than the poor CGI.

Cinematographer Fabian Wagner has admitted he even filmed shots with Henry Cavill in the famous black Supes outfit. It should have been a different return to the blue suit than a quick tantrum and a creepy scene with Lois Lane in a field.

If Superman was unlikable compared to Ben Affleck’s Batman in the previous meeting, he’s a complete turnoff now. The movie sinks the second he appears.

After a good build, fans are left with a sham of a movie. Neither taking the best of the previous instalments or becoming a copy of its rival.

This should have been a part one of two and was silently cut down to one movie. At this rate, Warner Bros. will call time on the whole botched affair and return to making successful and critically acclaimed stand-alone movies.

That’s if there’s any justice in the world.

5/10

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Review

Finally, the gloves are off and we get the big showdown. Not the fight between Supes and The Bat. This is the start of DC v Marvel. And the early reaction hasn’t been good for Kent or Wayne.

The problem affecting Batman v Superman is this exterior pressure. Because the Marvel movies have been such a success everyone expects all superhero films to follow this formula. Well, this movie doesn’t. It follows the Zack Snyder method.

So if you’re reading this wondering whether Batman v Superman is for you, just ask yourself: Did you enjoy Man of Steel and Watchmen? If you did, you’ll love this. If you didn’t, then wait for other productions in the DC Extended Universe (not made by Snyder) before jumping in.

Personally, I don’t mind at bit of Snyder action. To put this into context, and give an idea of where this movie sits, it surpasses Man of Steel in terms of ambition but isn’t as tightly told overall. It is better than Avengers: Age of Ultron and the two Iron Man sequels. So the Marvel fanboys taunting DC should get their own house in order first.

The movie gives us a good Batman. Yes, Batfleck actually works. All that fan hatred has been channelled in a fitting angst. His plot is well laid out and worthy of its own flick. That’s part of the problem with the film – it’s too crammed.

Bruce Wayne is on a mission to steal info from Lex Luthor in order to locate, what turns out to be, a transport ship. This ties him back into the larger scheme of things. On his way he briefly meets Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) and decides that Superman is a dangerous threat that he intends to take out.

Everyone else has their doubts about the Man of Steel too. Reviews and courts are being convened and he’s not helping matters by swooping to rescue Lois in Africa which results in villagers being gunned down.

Batman is the vigilante in the dark, mostly under the radar except for the tabloid press. Superman is the outlaw causing government debate.

So far so good. All the ingredients are there for a great final act. Instead it kind of all gets lost in the mix. By the credits it feels more of a relief than a jubilant celebration. DC isn’t trying to be “fun” like Marvel but it does lack any trace of humour.

You can make your own though. For example, one of the cops in a scene where Batman is hiding in the corner of an unlit room, sounds exactly like Alexander Knox from 1989’s Batman. He was barrel of laughs (honest).

Or during the preview of Cyborg (a character that will form part of the Justice League) you see that the scientist handling his human remains and the technology that attaches to him is none other than Terminator 2’s Miles Dyson. We all know how well that ends when he meddles with cyborgs.

Mixed reviews aside, Batman v Superman is on course to make a ton of money. The safe bet is Warner Bros. will hope Suicide Squad gets strong feedback and they can carry on with their phase one plans.

They should include a Batman film, sharpish. And maybe leave Superman in the dark place he finds himself. He’s about as popular as Zack Snyder right now.

Score: 7/10