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By now, you’ve likely read the reviews or at least seen the headlines that BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is a huge disappointment. Some of the main criticisms are that it isn’t cohesive, it’s too long yet doesn’t give enough time to important details, it doesn’t fix any of the problems inherent in MAN OF STEEL, and that the DC Universe is off to a terrible start. I’ll admit, some of these complaints are completely justified, but I had fun and I think that’s all that really matters. I wasn’t bored during a single part of the two and a half hour movie. The action was great, the characters were fun, and the story was interesting. That doesn’t mean the action was necessary, the characters had motivation, and the story made sense, it was simply entertaining.

Several months ago, people were anticipating this movie and criticizing it for things they knew nothing about. The casting was a huge part of that. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? Ben Affleck as Batman? Jeremy Irons as Alfred? Okay that one makes sense. And then we saw the trailer. You know what trailer I’m talking about. The one that basically spoiled the entire third act. Well, it’s true.

If you’re set on not seeing this movie or you don’t have the time, watch this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fis-9Zqu2Ro).

Jesse Eisenberg was a strange choice that I’m not sure totally paid off. He was okay, but not great. Ben Affleck on the other hand was the best part of the movie. I didn’t think Christian Bale could be surpassed, but Affleck may be my new favorite Batman. He’s older and much more ruthless than we’ve seen before, and he’s also more psychotic. It makes sense that this guy would dress up as a bat and hurt bad guys. In regards to the trailer… still watch the movie. If you haven’t seen that trailer already, consider yourself lucky. Many of the most exciting parts of the film are spoiled in that marketing travesty, and I can only imagine how much fun it would have been to experience those things for the first time in the theater. But, there’s more to the movie than just that. There were a lot of moments that surprised me and had me on the edge of my seat.

Honestly, I don’t understand why people are so upset about the movie. It’s fine if you don’t like it, but people actually feel offended. They think the characters are being treated poorly or that the filmmakers think their audience is dumb. I don’t think these things are true. It’s not a perfect movie and maybe DC will never catch up to Marvel, but they have a good start. I think this movie did a lot to correct the wrongs that we saw in Man of Steel. I think the subsequent DC movies and The Justice League will continue to expand the Universe and improve the story. I had fun watching this movie. I like seeing superheroes beat each other up. I’m not there to see the next Oscar winner or to walk away with a new view on humanity. Batman and Superman fight. That’s awesome. If that’s something you want to see, go see this movie. If you can’t form opinions of your own, there are hundreds of reviews on the web to tell you what you should think about Zack Snyder and the DC Universe.   Movies are meant to be fun and that’s all this movie is.

 

4 out of 5 Stars

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE – Dir. Zack Snyder

Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot

Run Time: 2 hours 33 minutes

DEADPOOL – Movie Review – Having already broken numerous opening weekend records, DEADPOOL is on its way to revolutionizing the way superheroes are presented on the big screen. The fact is, hard-edged, R-rated superhero movies generally don’t work. THE PUNISHER, DREDD, WATCHMEN; all of which are fun (sometimes excellent) movies, but they simply didn’t make the money necessary to change anything. Fans of these stories like going to the theater and seeing their favorite “heroes” the way they were meant to be seen. The problem is, not many people other than the die-hard fans were paying for their ticket. That is, until this weekend.

Deadpool is about as much fun from a superhero movie as you can get. It’s action packed, violent, hilarious, and even sexy. All of this is tightly bundled up in a nice R-rating. That means you actually get to see the violence, the jokes aren’t dumbed down for kids, and the sexy stuff is… what it is. If you’re not into blood and cursing, perhaps you can rent the new Fantastic Four movie from the Redbox.

That being said, it is an origin story. Sure, they’re always necessary, but usually they’re drawn out and boring because who doesn’t know that Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider?! However, Deadpool switches it up a little bit. We’re fed the back story of how he came to be this mutant anti-hero through clever fourth wall breaks and intermissions from the current narrative. It was really fun actually and kept the pacing tight and interesting. My only problem is that the origin out did the narrative. What I mean is, the movie as a whole was really interesting, but when looking back at it, I didn’t really care about the villain or Deadpool’s fight for revenge. I think it did its job in setting up subsequent movies and crossovers, but as a single story I thought it lacked the stakes I wanted to see.

Of course the entire movie pokes fun at itself and realizes that his plight is incredibly self-centered and ridiculous. These fourth wall breaks and self-conscious jokes are what made this movie so memorable and authentic. Deadpool knows he’s in a movie. He references characters from other movies, he talks about the studio, he even comments on Ryan Reynolds and his unfavorable past work. This is exactly in line with the comic book character so many people have grown to love. That’s exactly why Deadpool is breaking so many records. Finally, fans were given a movie that felt like the comic book it’s based on. It’s rated R because that’s what the source material called for. It’s edgy and over the top because Deadpool as a character is edgy and over the top.  And it acts as a sentient work of art because that’s how the comics became popular enough to make a movie in the first place!

So, if you enjoy action movies that aren’t watered down with quick cuts and mild swear words, check Deadpool out. You don’t need to be a fan of the character to enjoy the movie. It’s probably the most purely fun superhero movie that’s been released since GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

 

4 out of 5 Stars

 

DEADPOOL – Dir. Tim Miller

Run Time: 108 Minutes

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, and Morena Boccarin

ROOM Movie Review, based off of the National Best-selling novel from Emma Donaghue, is a heart-wrenching new film about a young boy and his mother finally escaping from the hands of their captor, allowing the boy to discover the outside world for the first time. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as ‘Ma’ and ‘Jack’ respectively, each give performances of a lifetime (which is kind of saying a lot, given both of their incredibly young ages) in director Lenny Abrahamson’s first film after the independent smash, FRANK. Donaghue returns to pen the screenplay from her own novel, giving the film a very complete and fresh feel unlike many book adaptations we’ve become accustomed to. So, as you can see, Team Room is fairly stacked in regards to young talent.

The first thing I need to reiterate is how amazing Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are in this film. Larson has already won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role and is a strong contender for the coveted Best Actress Oscar this year. Both of which are very well deserved. She managed to portray a vulnerable, yet strong mother just trying to take care of her son in the worst possible conditions. Jacob gave the best performance from someone under the age of fifteen since Sean Astin in THE GOONIES. Actually he was far better than Sean Astin has ever been (that was harsh, I’m sorry). It’s rare to find a young actor knock such a difficult role out of the park, but some amount of credit has to be given to both Abrahamson’s direction as well as Larson’s counter performance. Regardless, I’ve never seen such wonder and enthusiasm in a performance, especially from a nine year old playing a five year old.

The emotional core of Room comes from Ma’s love and protection of Jack. It’s apparent from the first scene that he’s the only ray of light in her horrific life and that she’s willing to do anything to keep him happy. Unfortunately that means keeping him unaware of the reality beyond “Room”, leaving him unable to be hopeful for their futures. This idea is the main focus of the first act of the film. What is outside? Who can go there? What will happen when we leave Room? What does happen is that Jack learns about everything that was kept hidden from him for his first five years of existence. Some things are amazing and even magical, while others are cruel, scary, and make him miss his old home.

As you can expect, Room plays with your emotions a little bit. Or a lot. I’m not going to say that I left the theater with red, swollen eyes, but I definitely wasn’t too chipper about the experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful story that is beautifully directed and expertly acted, but it’s draining. Throughout the 2 hour run time, you’ll feel severe anxiety, crippling sadness, elated joy, and a smidge of anger. So basically it’s like watching INSIDE OUT!

All in all, Room deserves every award it has won or been nominated for. I’m still working my way through all of the Oscar nominated films this year, but I’ll honestly be surprised if Brie doesn’t snag the Best Actress statue. She and Tremblay had contagious chemistry together that I’ve been thinking about all weekend. Room may not be the best date movie, but if you get the chance to see it in a theater, I highly recommend the experience. After all, who doesn’t enjoy crying with a room full of strangers?

4 out of 5 Stars

ROOM – Dir. Lenny Abrahamson

Run Time: 118 minutes

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy