Another Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (dir. Zack Snyder, 2016)
This one by me.
Not as bad as you have been led to believe, but not the greatest film ever. A Batman focused film that serves to make you hate Superman even more, launches the DC cinematic universe, and make you wish that they had just made a Wonder Woman film and left the men in tights at home. It looks pretty though.
If online reviews and reports are to be believed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of the worst films ever made, is a travesty of modern film making, superhero films, and storytelling, and that the entire cast and crew would have been better staying in bed and drinking Mai Tais. Nerds, geeks, comic fans, and film critics have been bizarrely united in their hatred and vitriol concerning this film. Let me be among the first to say that I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to find out that sometimes things on the internet are exaggerated and that their reportage can lean toward hyperbole. BvS will never be my favourite superhero film, but it wasn’t that bad and I have definitely seen far worse (Ghost Rider/Green Lantern/Batman and Robin/Man of Steel). I know that I have already posted my friend’s review of the film, but clearly I think that my opinion is far more important.
Spoiler Free Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (dir. Zack Snyder, 2016)
Guest Review by C Cooper
So three years after Man of Steel, and what feels like an eternity after announcing Batman vs Superman, the DC Universe has finally arrived. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this as I was distinctly underwhelmed by MoS and thought The Dark Knight Rises was dreadfully paced, overlong, and incomprehensible at times. I also took a gamble by going with my wife whose only real exposure to Batman was watching me play Arkham Knight on the Xbox, and that Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain were the definitive Lois and Clark. My expectations were pretty low for the film considering the negative press, but I hoped that the overwhelming hostility from critics was based on what they wanted the movie to be rather than how good it actually is. The trailers hadn’t helped much either – could there be anything about the film not actually spoiled? If this seems like an overlong preamble, all I can say is that it is pretty reflective of the movie.
Southbound (2016). Directed by Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, and Radio Silence. Written by Roxanne Benjamin, Matt Bennelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Susan Burke, Dallas Hallam, and Patrick Horvath. Willowbrook Regent Films, 89 minutes.
Synopsis: Interlocking tales of highway terror revolve around malevolent spirits at a truck stop, a mysterious traveler, a car accident and a home invasion. (imdb.com)
“Fuck this shit. Let’s go home.”
This film is an anthology in which the stories and characters are interwoven, taking place in a nameless town (as it’s a horror film, you can probably guess the name) on a nameless highway (save that it’s going south) in a nameless part of the southwest United States (most probably Nevada). It tells four stories of people who are unfortunate enough to drive through (and stop in) this neck of the woods, and documents their various fates.
The continuing Epic fantasy saga following a handful of overpowered characters as they scheme and try to survive a civil war. Slower, and more politically and world-building focused than the initial volumes. Two of the female characters are raised to central prominence. A solid step toward the end of the series with lots of minor action sequences but temporarily loses sight of the major conflict.
If you are reading this I am assuming that you have already read Books 1 and 2 (The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife respectively). This book picks up on the cliffhanger ending of Book 2 with Gavin enslaved on a pirate vessel, Kip held prisoner by his half-brother Zymun, Karris worried about the missing Gavin, and Teia being courted by a secret society of ne’er-do-wells. You might notice the Liv and the Colour Prince don’t feature on that list… and that is because it seems that Weeks is leaving that storyline to the last book. While the story checks in on Gavin to keep you updated on his travails, the major focus on this novel is on Karris, Teia, and Kip, and a strong eye on the underhanded politics of the Chromeria. While the first two books aimed at high adventure and action Epic Fantasy, this book slows all the way down to focus more on the history and detail of the world, and spends time moving pieces around in preparation for the concluding book. So while it is great to have more character development and world-building, those looking for the civil war storyline to advance, the usual rip-roaring adventure and epic action, may be a little disappointed.
If you like the other CW superhero shows, this is more of the same. If you don’t like the other CW superhero shows this is more of the same. Glossy American superhero action remake of Doctor Who. Uneven writing, unwieldy ensemble cast with bumpy chemistry and the subtlety of a baseball bat to the face, and without the do-gooding charm of The Flash or the growling angst of Arrow.
Take a group of supporting characters and guest stars from your airing superhero shows (some of whom are surprisingly famous), stick them in a dysfunctional team together, have them led by American Doctor Who-light on a haphazard trip through easy-to-costume historical settings, to fight an implausible bad guy… welcome to Legends of Tomorrow. The latest DC based superhero property to show up on the CW, LoT features the time travelling rogue Time Master, Rip Hunter, played by Doctor Who alum Arthur Darvill. Rip has journeyed back in time to assemble a team of misfit heroes and rogues in order to fight the immortal sorcerer and warlord Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Unfortunately, while only slightly more implausible than all the other teams of superheroes who fight ridiculous villains, there is a real lack of cohesion of vision to this show. But for ease of description, think of it as Justice League: The C-listers, or The Diet Avengers.
A police procedural, buddy cop/odd couple, comics based show with occasional risqué humour and a slowly building but thin supernatural meta-arc. Very similar to the cancelled Constantine (CW, 2014-2015) but with a slightly more charismatic central character, and slightly less edgy material.
Given the glut of Superhero shows and films currently available, it seems strange that DC and FOX would try to ram yet another one into the mix, however supernatural shows and police procedurals are a staple of cable TV so why not combine the two? Despite Lucifer’s comics background, it is no superhero show, or at least not the type you might expect. Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) has given up being the King of Hell and retired to the mortal plane to open a high class decadent night club, Lux, in Los Angeles. A series of unfortunate events leads to him teaming up with a local homicide detective, Chloe Decker (Lauren German), and proceeding to solve murders on a weekly basis. The series alludes to a broader supernatural meta-arc as Lucifer is visited by Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), an angel, who warns him to return to his duties in Hell or there will be consequences. Given that I have only seen the first few episodes at the time of writing this, I have to say that the supernatural meta-arc is thin at best, but that may change as the series develops.
Review: Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy Book 1) by Ian C. Esslemont
A great fantasy novel that is quintessentially ‘Malazan’ but in a streamlined, more story-centred form. The three main POVs give a tight focus to the first step of Shadowthrone and Cotillion’s legendary journey. A brilliant entry point to the Malazan universe for new readers as well as established Malazan fans.
When Ian C. Esslemont and Steven Erikson whiled away the hours on archaeological digs by creating the intricate fantasy world of the Malazan Empire and gaming adventures in it with the GURPS system, they also created the bedrock for one of the most engaging secondary world Epic fantasies in the genre. It is rare that two authors share ownership of a world and continue to produce well-crafted stories that intertwine and overlap, but never repeat. While co-creators they each possess their own writing style, and with Dancer’s Lament Esslemont demonstrates his command of both the fictive reality and a tightly focused, story-centric narrative.