movie, movie review

January 31st, 2017 Movie – The Deep (1977)

the-deep-1977

Ahh, now this is something I have been looking forward to. See, when I decided to buy the some of the Peter Benchley movies that I did not own, there were two old movies of his that I had never seen before so I decided to pick those up as well. Now I am at a bit of a disadvantage in this movie because I had not read the book before, mainly because it didn’t have a killer animal in it (yes, I have my favorite genres). So this is basically all new material for me which makes me a little excited to watch today’s movie, The Deep (1977).

The plot: Vacationing couple Gail Berke and David Sanders are scuba diving off the coast of Bermuda and while they are exploring some of the shipwrecks, Gail discovers an ampule of liquid medicine. As she continues looking around, she sees another ampule and tries using her divers pick to retrieve it but something grabs her pick and yanks her arm back towards the ship. Gail spits out her regulator so she can use the bubbles to signal David for help when whatever grabbed the pick bites through it and she is able to escape. After the two swim back to the boat, David chips away at a coral encrusted bottle he found and discovers a medallion inside some of the muck. When they return to shore, owner of the dive shop questions which wreck they had dived at, since they said they were diving a different one, and becomes interested in the ampule of liquid that the found. Later, they are at the library researching the medallion and David believes that since it has the date of 1714 stamped on it, it might be from a Spanish fleet that sank in 1715. At dinner, they are approached by Henri “Cloche” Bondurant, who talks to them about the ampule and attempts to buy it but the refuse to sell it to them. The next day, they go to see Romer Treece, the lighthouse keeper and a local treasure hunter. Romer finishes cleaning the muck from the medallion and is able to identify it but says that the fleet had sunk off the coast of Florida and had been well documented. When they show him the rest of what they collected, he recognizes it as being from the Goliath and asks them about the ampule but refuses to go with them for a second look. As they are making their way back to their hotel, a truck speeds up behind them and forces them off the road, where they are quickly grabbed and placed in the back of a cab. The two are blindfolded and taken to Cloche, who searches them for the ampule but when he doesn’t find it, figures that Romer kept it and lets them go. David and Gail head back to the lighthouse to speak with Romer and find out what’s going on. They head with him to his ship and speak to his friend Adam Coffin, who had been on the Goliath. Coffin says that the ampule is medical morphine, and admits that there is more down there. When Romer shows him Gail’s drawing of the ship and where she found the ampule, Coffin says that the ship must have shifted and rolled during the last storm, as it had never been that close to the reef and that the morphine was stored in the opposite side of the ship. As they head out on his boat, Romer says he plans to dive the wreck that night and convinces David, who is considering going to the government with what he found, to join him, though Gail begs him not to go. That night, Coffin brings some scuba tanks to Romer’s boat but Romer doesn’t let him come with them, as he plans on destroying the morphine if it is still there. As David and Romer prepare to dive, David is concerned when he sees Romer grabbing some explosives but Romer explains that he plans on using them to knock the Goliath off the reef and into the deeper parts of the ocean, where divers would not be able to reach it. As the two head down to the water, they place the explosives along the base of the Goliath before heading inside, where they discover more vials of morphine as well as some more Spanish artifacts. When David becomes entangled in some of the wreck after encountering a large moray eel, Romer saves him and they head back to Romer’s boat. On the boat, they find a dead cat crucified on the door and Romer says Cloche is using voodoo to try and scare them and David realizes that Gail is in danger. The race back to shore and David ends up fighting and killing one of Cloche’s men before he reaches his bungalow, where he finds Gail had been attacked and had a voodoo ceremony performed on her. Romer has David and Gail stay at his place, and informs David that he found something incredible and he wants to research it more to see what else is down there. The next day, Romer goes to see Cloche and tells him that he booby-trapped to Goliath but is willing to sell them to him so long as he leaves David and Gail alone, and Cloche agrees but gives Romer three days to get the morphine. Later, Romer, David, Gail, and Coffin head out to the Goliath and Romer, David, and Gail dive down while Coffin stays on the boat. Using a vacuum to suck up and expel the sand into a different chamber, they collect dozens of vials of morphine from the wreck while searching for more artifacts. Gail sends up some of the bags of morphine, then heads back to the chamber, not noticing a shark circling overhead. When the vacuum sucks up a rock and spits it out, it accidentally sets off one of Romer’s explosives, causing the wreck to shift and opening a hole in the floor of the Goliath, which David falls through. He finds himself in another wreck that is underneath the , and finds some more artifacts including a gold necklace. Returning back to Romer’s place, Romer places the morphine up in the light room, then booby-traps it in case Cloche’s men try to grab it. Romer then tries to look up information about the ship from his records. Meanwhile, Coffin is at the bar speaking with Cloche and telling him that Romer is up to something but doesn’t know what. Back at Romer’s house, they figure out that the ship contains the treasure that was intended for Elizabeth Farnese, who was being courted by King Phillip of Spain. Romer says that if they can find one of the items that is on the manifest they found, then it would establish a provenance that they need to claim the treasure. The next day, they head back down and discover a jewel encrusted cross with E.F. engraved in it. Meanwhile, Coffin is going through all of their gear and discovers Gail’s drawing and realizes what they are really doing. He then sees a ship full of Cloche’s men approach and watches as they begin dumping chunks of bloody meat into the water to attract a school of sharks. The sharks begin eating the meat and end up getting tangled up in the air lines of David and Romer. Romer ends up being dragged out of the ship and David and Gail go rescue him, then swim up to the boat, narrowly avoiding being attacked by the sharks. When they reach the surface, Romer yells at Coffin for not warning them but Coffin says that he had fallen asleep. Back at Romer’s place, Romer gets suspicious of Coffin when Gail’s sketch is missing and decides to go check on his friend Kevin, only to find that he has been killed by Cloche’s men. Meanwhile, David figures out that he had found a jeweled dragon that Elizabeth had worn, which would establish their provenance. When Romer returns, he says that he is going to go and blow up the but David says that he plans on going to get the dragon. As they head for Romer’s boat, Coffin heads up to the light room to get the morphine but triggers the booby-trap, causing the top of the light house to explode. David and Romer dive down on their respective missions while Gail stays on the boat, unaware that Cloche and his men are diving down as well. One of Cloche’s men boards Romer’s ship and tries to kill Gail but she manages to stab him with a spear and kill him. The man that killed Kevin attacks David just as he finds the dragon but he manages to evade the attack, then swims out of the ship and heads back in on the other side in order to attack the man, eventually managing to rip his regulator out and drown him. Cloche sees Romer setting dynamite and tries to stop him, shooting him in the leg with a spear gun, but Romer manages to ignite the fuse. As the two men struggle, Romer maneuvers Cloche in front of the opening that the moray eel lives in, and the large eel bites down on Cloches head and kills him. David had come back to grab the dragon but sees Romer in trouble and goes to help him but Romer cuts David’s regulator, forcing him to swim back to the surface while Romer swims down into the second ship. The charges go off and the Goliath sinks down into the ravine but as David and Gail mourn Romer’s death, Romer suddenly surfaces and throws David the gold dragon.

The Deep (1977) met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt like it was simply an uninspired movie that was hoping to bank on the popularity of Jaws. The movie wound up being nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, as well as having a comic book adaptation done by Marvel Comics. Despite the negative reviews, it still wound up being a box office hit, earning $47.3 million off of a $9 million budget.

Not entirely what I was expecting but this is not a bad movie. The acting was pretty good, with Robert Shaw (Romer) and Nick Nolte (David) both doing great jobs in their roles. Jacqueline Bisset (Gail) was also good, as was Louis Gossett Jr. (Cloche), though it was a little weird seeing him as the bad guy. The story was pretty good and made for a good thriller, but the scene pacing in the movie felt a little disjointed at times. The underwater scenes were very well shot, though some of the scenes with the shark didn’t fit well with the rest of the scenes. A fun movie to watch but if you are expecting a bunch of people killed by a giant marine animal, you will be disappointed.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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January 30th, 2017 Movie – Death Warmed Up

death-warmed-up

Back to the fun of another movie from the Pure Terror box set. It is funny but when I saw the name listed for this movie, I recognized it but couldn’t really figure out from where. So I looked him up and immediately recognized him as Iolaus from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. So, now knowing where I recognized the name, it will be interesting to see how a younger Michael Hurst is as an actor. So let’s get started with today’s movie, Death Warmed Up.

The plot: Michael Tucker is running across the park to a nearby hospital, and heads upstairs, where he witnesses an argument between his father, Professor Raymond Tucker, and his partner, Dr. Archer Howell. Tucker says Howell’s mutation is too dangerous but Howell accuses Tucker of trying to stop his progress in extending or saving human lives and threatens him. Howell notices Tucker had been watching them and as he is taking a shower, drugs him and carries him off, where he places Tucker in a chair and tortures/brainwashes him before driving him home. At the Tucker’s house, Tucker is watching a news story where Howell is being interviewed and grows upset over what Howell is saying but his wife Netty calms him down and takes him to bed. Michael enters the house carrying a shotgun and proceeds to shoot his parents and ends up being committed to a mental institution for 7 years. Meanwhile, Howell has moved his operations to an island off the New Zealand coast and has begun experimenting on human patients. Michael, his girlfriend Sandy, and their friends Lucas and Jeannie are on the ferry heading to the same island that Howell’s clinic is on. While their story is that they are going there to go camping and exploring some old WWII tunnels, Jeannie doesn’t know that the real reason for their going is so Michael can get revenge on Howell, an issue that Sandy argues about with Michael. Meanwhile, a medical van for Howell’s clinic is also on the ferry and the two drivers, Spider and Jannings, are watching Lucas and Jeannie having sex in the back of their car when one of them starts complaining about feeling bad. A hunchbacked crew member interrupts Lucas and Jeannie and the captain chastises him and tells him not to go on the deck but when they are back in the wheelhouse, the hunchback collapses and says he needs to see Howell before he begins convulsing and frothing at the mouth. Michael and Lucas notice the van is from Howell’s clinic and they go to investigate it for a bit before Lucas decides to pee on it. Spider and Jannings get out to confront Lucas and a fight breaks out between the four men but Michael and Lucas get the upper hand. As the ferry docks, Michael and Lucas get back in the car and as they wait to de-board, Spider rams bumps them a few times with the van before they leave the ferry and the van speeds past them. As they make their way through the hillside, Jeannie hears something and gets nervous, just as the van reappears and tries to slam into them but Michael avoids it and the van ends up getting stuck off the road. When they head into town, Michael freezes up a little when he sees Howell walking to a nearby market but he snaps out of it and continues to the beach. Meanwhile, Howell gets a page and returns to the clinic, where the hunchback is taken into surgery but as Howell starts to examine his head, which is pulsing, the hunchback’s head explodes. Michael and his friends leave the beach and head out to the hills to explore the WWII tunnels, but Jeanie gets nervous as they approach them. Inside the tunnels, Michael and Lucas end up getting separated from the girls and as the girls try to find them, they end up coming to an opening, where the hunchback body is suddenly dropped down, hanging from a noose. Sandy and Jeannie scream and run back down the tunnel and run into Michael and Lucas, as an alarm sounds and Spider and Jannings begin chasing them on motorcycles through the tunnels. After a while, Jeannie is injured and Lucas gets fed up and decides to confront them while the others escape and ends up causing Jannings to crash and impale himself on a metal pole. As they are leaving, Sandy says Jeannie needs to go to the hospital but Michael tells her that they can’t go there because the hospital won’t help them. Meanwhile, Spider takes Jannings back to the institute and asks Howell to help Jannings but Howell refuses and tells his assistant, Jackson, to get rid of both of them. Jackson attacks Spider with a device but Spider manages to run off and head down to the bottom of the institute and kills a guard before unleashing Howell’s mutations that were kept locked up down there. Michael and the others reach a pub and Michael and Lucas head inside to call for help while Sandy stays in the car and tends to Jeannie’s injuries. When they reach the institute, Jackson warns them to barricade the pub and wait for help but Spider and the mutants arrive and rip out the power and phone lines. Sandy makes it inside, leaving Jeannie locked in the car as the mutants start attacking the pub and the car. The mutants kill the pub owner and almost kill Jeannie before Jackson and his staff arrive and subdue Spider and the mutants, then take Michael and the others prisoner and take them back to the institute. When they get there, Spider and the mutants overpower the staff and start killing them, while Michael and the others run and barricade themselves inside a room. Michael goes to find Howell and while he is gone, the room comes under attack. Lucas places Jeannie inside a side room while he and Sandy fend off the attackers but there is a mutant in the room and as Jeannie tries to fend it off by throwing things at it, she throws a vial of liquid at a heater, setting both her and the creature on fire before the other chemicals cause an explosion. Meanwhile, Michael is captured and brought to see Howell, who says that there have been hundreds of patients that he has treated and will undergo the mutation. Howell says he needs to survive in order to stop this but Michael kills him, stabbing him repeatedly in the gut. Meanwhile, Lucas and Sandy are trying to find Michael and escape when Spider kills Lucas with an axe. Michael finds Sandy and confronts Spider, who stares at Michael before backing away, saying “I’ll get you. I’ll get you all.” Michael and Sandy leave but Michael starts acting strange and when they approach the burning wreckage of the bar, he stops the car and gets out. Sandy pleads with him not to leave her but he walks off a ways before he starts to break down and cry. Suddenly, a power line falls and electrocutes Michael and Sandy runs towards him but seeing he is dead, runs off into the night.

Well, this definitely fit the bill for this box set. This was a little confusing, but a pretty decent horror movie from New Zealand. The acting was ok, with Michael Hurst (Michael) and Margaret Umbers (Sandy) doing a good job. David Letch was also pretty good as Spider, but Gary Day (Howell) was a little too over the top in his acting. The story was a bit confusing, as some things were never fully explained, which kind of hurt the story a little. The special effects were pretty good considering when it was made and the low budget. While the copy in the set may not be the best possible version, the tone of the movie was very fitting, with a lot of suspense and some good build up during the latter half of the movie. Not the best horror movie out there, but some good scares that are worth watching it for.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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January 29th, 2017 Movie – Death Race 2050

death-race-2050

It has been far too long since I got a brand new Roger Corman movie on DVD, but that changes today. Ok, ok…technically it was the 17th but I get to watch and review the movie today. Now the original Death Race 2000 is one of my favorite Roger Corman movies for it’s sheer over-the-top style and satire. It did get a big budget remake a while back, it lacked some of the elements that made the original so memorable. Let’s see how good today’s movie, Death Race 2050, is compared to the original.

The plot: In the year 2050, the UCA (United Corporations of America) has become overpopulated by a completely lazy society. The Chairman of the UCA hosts a sporting competition called the Death Race, where drivers race cross country from Nueva York (New York) to Los Angeles and try to kill as many pedestrians as possible, as a means of population control. As the competition is about to begin, announcers JB and Grace Trickle introduce and attempt interviews with the 5 drivers; Tammy the Terrorist (who placed a bomb in the stands that kills 17 people before the race), Minerva Jefferson (a hip hop star competing in her first Death Race), ABE (an AI that has been programmed with the rules for the race), Jed Perfectus (a genetically engineered athlete who is jealous of the reigning champion), and Frankenstein (the reigning champion). As he gets in his car, Frankenstein meets his navigator, Annie Sullivan, who is equipped with a virtual reality broadcaster so that the audience can see what she sees via virtual reality. After the racers are lined up, the Chairman, via a large virtual reality projection over the stadium, starts the race and the drivers leave New York. As they are driving, Jed knocks Frankenstein off course and Frankenstein ignores Annie’s suggestion to back up, choosing to drive off a broken freeway ramp to get back on course. When Jed tries to knock Frankenstein off a cliff into the ocean, Frankenstein dodges him and Jed is forced to tow his car to safety while trying to seek adulation from the virtual audience. Meanwhile, Frankenstein takes off his mask, which surprises Annie but he says the mask is merely a gimmick and tells her to not distract him from racing. At his headquarters, the Chairman is upset about Frankenstein taking off his mask. Tammy is in the lead, as the judges decided to award her points for the kills from her pre-race bomb. Meanwhile, former broadcaster Alexis Hamilton has formed a band of rebels and plans on killing the racers in the death race. Minerva attempts to catch up to Tammy by getting her fans out on the street so she can run them over but Tammy cuts her off and kills them herself, increasing her lead. Meanwhile, Annie attempts to interview Frankenstein but he turns the interview around to ask her questions. Annie directs him to a school, where the teachers and parents place injured and crippled kids in the street but Frankenstein goes around them and kills the parents and administrators instead, catching up to Tammy’s lead. Meanwhile, Abe is attacked by the rebels and manages to kill them but malfunctions and kills his proxy/creator, then drives off to discover himself. The remaining racers make it to the checkpoint and give interviews, though Frankenstein ignores the reporters. In Washington DC (formerly Dubai), the Chairman talks with some important people and talks about dropping his support of Frankenstein, who he feels is getting too popular, and supporting Jed instead, believing he will be better suited for his purposes. Meanwhile, Frankenstein makes repairs to his cyborg parts while Annie is in the shower, where she receives a message from Hamilton. Hamilton says they need to kill Frankenstein that night and Annie attempts to seduce him but he ignores her attempts. The next day, the race takes them through America’s Heartland, where the residents tend to shoot back against the racers. Jed shoots Frankenstein’s car with a harpoon and tow cable, and Annie is forced to climb back and unhook them, while Frankenstein tries to avoid getting her killed. Meanwhile, Minerva ends up being attacked by some of the people but gets away, then kills Tammy’s followers in retaliation for Tammy killing her fans the day before. Some of Tammy’s followers attempt to kill Minerva with suicide vests and manage to kill her proxy but Minerva escapes. Annie leads Frankenstein to a rebel trap and when his car gets stuck, he is attacked by ninjas. JB wants to stop the camera feed but the Chairman tells him to keep it rolling, then gets upset when Frankenstein kills the ninjas. Getting back in his car, Frankenstein picks up Annie, who threatens to kill him but he easily disarms her. He then has her put the camera back on as he kills the last of the rebels in the area. When they reach the checkpoint, Frankenstein tells Annie he knew she was part of the resistance from the start but was curious to see how things turned out. Annie says that the people would follow him so he could lead them against the Chairman but Frankenstein says he doesn’t want to lead, he just wants to drive off into the sunset and he thought about having someone go with him. Annie leaves the room and heads down to the bar, where she ends up talking to Minerva, who reveals she was educated by her father and just plays her character in order to survive. Meanwhile, Jed breaks into Frankenstein’s room and begins fighting with him, eventually pinning his arm to the wall with a harpoon but Annie saves Frankenstein before Jed can kill him. Later, Frankenstein is sitting on the roof and Annie talks with him and says that she is joining his team. In Washington DC, the Chairman reveals that he has been working with Hamilton and pitting the networks and the resistance against each other. On the third day, the racers take off and, due to the damage in his arm, Annie is forced to shift gears for Frankenstein. Realizing that she has no chance of winning the race, Minerva decides to take out Tammy but Tammy arms her proxy with a suicide vest and pushes him  out of the car, causing Minerva to crash. As Tammy gets out to taunt the dying Minerva, ABE reappears and crashes into Tammy then self destructs, killing them both. Frankenstein and Annie are attacked by Hamilton and the resistance but manage to kill all of them. Meanwhile, Jed had been given a map of the safe routes and is on his way to the finish line and is basking in the adulation of his small group of fans. Frankenstein asks Annie if she wants to just leave the race but she convinces him to finish it, as the winner gets to meet the Chairman. When Jed sees Frankenstein, he has his proxy, Eve, drive while he tries fighting Frankenstein while on top of his car but after Frankenstein fends him off, Jed takes back control of his car only to end up crashing over a cliff and into the TV studio, killing JB and Grace. Frankenstein reaches the finish line, then has Annie put on the camera so he can address the VR audience. Frankenstein tells the audience that the Chairman is worth 1000 points and questions whether he should kill him and after doing so, to the fans delight, he convinces them to turn off the VR system and compete in their own race. The fans begin to riot and erupt in chaos, Frankenstein and Annie watch from a distant hilltop and figure out what their next move is.

Nothing is going to top the original, but this movie does a much better job of catching the spirit of the movie than the 2008 remake did. The acting was pretty good, with Manu Bennett (Frankenstein) and Malcolm McDowell (Chairman) doing a great job in their roles, while Yancy Butler (Hamilton), Marci Miller (Annie), and Burt Grinstead (Jed) doing good in their roles as well. The story was almost exactly like the original movie, with some minor changes made to it. In fact, that was probably my only complaint about the movie is that it really seemed exactly like the original movie instead of a new movie. I did like that the two announcers were almost exactly like Junior Bruce and Grace Pander from the original (even their names were pretty much the same) Some of the pedestrian kills from the original were redone here as well, such as Frankenstein swerving to avoid the victims left in the street for him and choosing to kill the people on the side instead. The political satire was also good, with the Chairman basically being a parody of Donald Trump. The special effects were pretty good, being as overly cheesy as you would hope they would be. A lot of fun to watch and a good retelling of a classic Corman movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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January 28th, 2017 Movie – Death In The Shadows

death-in-the-shadows

So this will be a new one for me. I don’t think I have watched a movie that was from the Netherlands before. Granted, I do own Reptilicus, which is pretty close to Netherlands, but that is another story. Anyways, today’s movie is another one from the Pure Terror box set, so there is a chance that this will be absolute garbage. Might as well go ahead and get this over with as I watch today’s movie, Death In The Shadows.

The plot: A woman named Trudy is waiting for the bus to take her from the city to her home town. After the bus leaves, a car starts up and follows the bus for a while before passing it and parking on the side of the road. When Trudy gets off the bus and starts walking home, the driver of the car waits until she has passed the car before starting it up and running her over. Trudy’s daughter Valerie has her boyfriend Paul and some of their friends over to study but as they get ready to leave, Valerie notices how late it is and wonders where her mom is. As Valeria is finishing cleaning up, the police show up and take Valerie to the hospital but it is too late and Trudy dies from her injuries. As upset as she is, Valerie decides to go ahead and take her finals but she is interrupted by Inspector Mellema, who asks her some questions about her mother. When Valerie asks what the questions are about, Mellema tells her that Trudy’s autopsy revealed that she never gave birth to a child. Mellema heads to her house and goes through her mother’s things, then talks with Mellema some more about the issue. Mellema thinks Trudy might have been hiding something but Valerie insists that she had nothing to hide, but admits to wanting to know who her real parents were. After talking with her neighbor, Ria, and Paul, Valeria finds a name in her mom’s address book she doesn’t recognize and decides to go see who it is. Heading to a neighboring town, she heads to the address, which is an auto shop, and asks to speak to Wim Gerritsen. When a woman answers the office door, Valerie hands her a invitation to Trudy’s funeral, and the woman recognizes Trudy’s name and after learning that Valerie is Trudy’s daughter, she goes to get her husband. Wim speaks with Valerie but denies knowing Trudy and tells Valerie to leave his shop. When Valerie tries to sneak around back to speak with Mrs. Gerritsen, Wim catches her and tells her to leave. Valerie goes to speak with Mellema, who chastises her for going to speak with them without him. Mellema tells Valerie that he had been investigating Trudy’s finances and believes that Trudy’s father was never dead like Valerie had been told. At the funeral, Mellema shows up to see if the Gerritsen’s showed up, then goes to speak with a doctor friend of Trudy’s. Meanwhile, Valeria asks Van Maurik, the lawyer Trudy worked for part-time.  if he knew her father but he doesn’t tell her anything. Paul comes by that night and after the two have sex, he tells her he is leaving on a trip that his parents bought him as soon as they are finished with finals. Valerie goes to see Van Maurik again and asks for his help in finding her real parents but he tells her it won’t be easy and that she should get the police involved as they are more capable. After their finals, Paul convinces Valerie to come to a party but as she is riding her bike to the party, a car tries to repeatedly run her over but she manages to escape it when she falls into the nearby river. Making her way back to her house, she calls Mellema and as she waits for him, she hears someone approaching in the back. When Mellema gets there, she tells him about the back yard and he opens the door to find Ria there. After Ria leaves, Mellema tells Valerie what he knows so far about the investigation and says that for all intents and purposes, nobody really knew her mother and now it seems that someone wants Valerie is dead as well. He tells her that Trudy had a brother but nobody knows where he is now and Valerie decides to go sleep in a hostel out of town so she can feel safe. The next day, Paul goes to see her before he leaves and the two get in an argument about her safety. The next day, Valerie goes to see her friend Evelyn, who lives in the city, and Evelyn tries telling her to get her mind off of what is going on. As she is wandering the city, Valerie sees Ria and decides to follow her and sees her enter a fetish club. Heading inside, she looks for Ria and finally finds her working a peep show booth, which embarrasses Valerie and she quickly leaves. Valerie returns home and then heads to see Mellema to see if anything new has been discovered, and Valerie asks about Ria. After they talk, Mellema gives Valerie his number to call if she gets in trouble and Valerie heads out to a cemetery where some pictures of her and her mother were taken. Finding the graves that were in the pictures, Valerie heads to the nearby church to ask the priest about them and learns that the people died a long time ago, but did have a young child. She also learns that Trudy’s brother Bob still lives in the area so she goes to see him. When she finds him, Bob invites her inside and proceeds to tell her the truth about her birth. Bob tells her that when they were younger, Trudy and their friend were inseparable, but Hugo soon feel in love with a rich woman named Margo, and married her. They had a baby but Hugo, who used Margo’s money to start a business, lot of money and Margo went mad from the shame. Hugo brought the baby to Trudy while he dealt with the situation, which ended in Hugo and Margo’s deaths. Trudy became Valerie’s guardian and wound up with a great sum of money from the insurance settlements, which she used to help a lot of people, such as Bob and the Gerritsens. Bob asks if Trudy never told her any of this and Valerie says no, but thinks she was going to as she just turned 18. Bob gets a strange look on his face and tells her to come back that night, which she does but with Mellema coming along as well. They discover Bob with his throat slit and Mellema sends Valerie home while he finishes up the investigation. When Valerie gets home, the lights go out and she is attacked by someone but manages to get away and break a window to scream for help. Ria, who had stopped by to check on Valerie, goes inside to look for Valerie but ends up being attacked by the intruder. Ria manages to wrap the intruder in a comforter and tells Valerie to get the lights. As Valerie goes to replace the fuses, Ria’s and the intruder’s struggles end up knocking over a fish bowl, which breaks and douses the comforter and the intruder with water. Valerie replaces the fuses just as the intruder touches a bare wire, electrocuting him and Valerie recognizes him as Van Maurik. The next morning, Mellema explains that Van Maurik had spent all of the money in Trudy’s account and killed Trudy when she found out.

This was an interesting mess of a movie. Though there were some dubbing issues, the acting was pretty good, with Maayke Bouten (Valerie) and Johan Leysen (Mellema) doing a good job in their roles. The basic story was good but the way the movie was shot, jumping back and forth like it did, made it a little confusing at times. I will say that the plot twist was pretty good, as they seemed to indicate it would be either Valerie’s birth parents or maybe Ria as the killer but the lawyer definitely came out of left field. The soundtrack was definitely memorable, as it was essentially an accordion attempting to play some creepy music during the slow scenes, mainly during the scenes of people travelling or walking. Still, it is worth a watch just for curiosity’s sake.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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January 27th, 2017 Movie – Suicide Squad

suicide-squad

Well, yet another DC movie that I did not go see in theaters. To be honest, I don’t really know why I didn’t see this in theaters because I was actually somewhat curious about it. Oh well, I may not have seen the movie but I definitely saw plenty of it’s influence at Dragoncon this year, as there were SOOOOOO many Harley Quinn cosplayers walking around. Now, you have to admit, a movie about a bunch of criminals trying to be good guys may be a bit of a stretch but here’s hoping DC did a good job with today’s movie, Suicide Squad.

The plot: Following the death of Superman, intelligence officer Amanda Waller has a meeting with government official Dexter Tolliver to discuss her plan of using criminals with special abilities to be used as disposable assets for high risk missions for the government. She tells him about her recruits; Deadshot and Harley Quinn (who were captured by Batman), Captain Boomerang (who was captured by the Flash), as well as a pyrokinetic named El Diablo, the genetic throwback Killer Croc, and Dr. June Moon, who is possessed by an ancient entity called Enchantress. Dexter goes to the Pentagon to pitch Amanda’s idea, and after a demonstration of Enchantress’s abilities, they agree to Amanda’s idea. Amanda tasks Col. Rick Flag to lead the team and takes him to Belle Reve prison to meet the members of Task Force X. That night, Enchantress takes control of June’s body while she is asleep and teleports to Waller’s home to take back her heart, which Waller uses to control Enchantress. However, the case containing the heart is booby-trapped and as she looks for a way to deactivate it, she finds the statue containing the spirit of her brother Incubus and quickly grabs it and teleports to Midway City. Once there, she grabs a man and opens the statue to allow Incubus to possess the man. She then tells him to build up his strength and she will return before teleporting back to the apartment June shares with Flag. Back in Midway City, Incubus begins attacking and absorbing some people, growing to giant proportion in the process, and as the military is sent in to stop him, Flag heads there with June and tells her to summon the Enchantress to stop Incubus, but instead Enchantress disappears. When Flag tells Waller, she starts stabbing Enchantress’s heart but Incubus shares his power with her, allowing her to survive and she begins building a weapon to wipe out humanity. Waller has Task Force X assembled in Midway City, where Flag informs them that they have been injected with nano-bombs in their necks, which will kill them if they do not follow his orders. They are joined by Slipknot, a mercenary that excels in scaling walls and buildings, and Katana, a martial artist and expert swordswoman who serves as Flag’s bodyguard. Meanwhile, Joker has learned what has happened to Harley and heads to the lab of Dr. Van Criss, who made the nano-bombs, and kidnaps him, then heads for Midway City to rescue Harley. Harley, who was secretly given a phone by Griggs, one of the guards at Belle Reve, sees Joker’s message and motions Deadshot to keep quiet when she notices that he saw it as well. When they arrive in Midway City, Captain Boomerang convinces Slipknot that the bombs are fake and he tries to escape but Flag sets off the explosive in Slipknot’s neck, decapitating him. As they continue with the mission, Deadshot and Harley plan on killing Flag and the soldiers, then having Joker help remove the bombs from their necks, and start spreading the word to the other team members. When the group is attacked by some people that have been transformed into monsters, Deadshot and the others are forced to help Flag and the soldiers in order to save themselves. Continuing towards their target, Flag speaks with Deadshot and says that if he will get the other members of Task Force X to work together, then he will use his influence to help Deadshot. When they reach the building, the head inside and are attacked by more of the transformed humans. When the creatures go after Flag again, Deadshot and the others keep him safe, then Deadshot pushes El Diablo, who had refused to fight, into using his powers to help them. When they reach the top floor, Flag and Deadshot enters the secure room, where Deadshot learns that Waller was the target they were sent to rescue. Waller kills the other people in the room and heads outside, where the other team members consider killing her but Waller threatens to kill them all. They head up to the roof but find that the Joker has commandeered the helicopter and has Dr. Van Criss disable Harley’s bomb. When she receives a text from the Joker, Harley heads for the helicopter and begins climbing a rope. Waller tells Deadshot to shoot Harley but he misses on purpose so Waller orders the helicopter to be shot down. Harley manages to survive but the Joker seemingly dies when the helicopter crashes. Another helicopter is sent for waller but Incubus brings it down and Waller is captured and brought to Enchantress, who gets her heart back and uses her magic to control Waller’s mind. Flag convinces Deadshot and the others to go after Waller, rejoining with Harley on the street, but when Deadshot learsn the truth about Flag and his connection to Enchantress, he chooses to go to a bar to drink and the others follow him. After a while, Flag heads into the bar and destroys the device controlling the bombs, telling the others that they are free to go, then hands Deadshot some letters that his daughter wrote to him but Waller had kept him from receiving. Deadshot and the others decide to help and Killer Croc joins a SEAL team to swim down through a flooded subway tunnel to retrieve an explosive, which they plan to use to kill Incubus, while Flag tries to remove Enchantress’s heart. Reaching inside the building, Enchantress attempts to stop the team by showing them their heart’s desires but El Diablo sees through it and wakes the others from their dreams so Enchantress has Incubus battle them. In the subway, Killer Croc and the SEAL’s are attacked by the transformed humans but manage to hold them off long enough for LT. Edwards to grab the charge and get it in position. El Diablo uses his powers to maneuver Incubus in position and tells them to blow the charge, sacrificing himself to ensure Incubus dies. Seeing her brother die, Enchantress activates her machine, then begins to attack the team herself. After fighting for a while, Enchantress quickly disarms them and offers them mercy if they will join her. Harley decides to join her but uses it as a distraction to grab Katana’s sword and cut out Enchantress’s heart. With the heart removed, Flag gives Killer Croc an explosive to throw at the machine, and Harley gives Deadshot her gun so he can shoot it. Enchantress tries to stop Deadshot by showing him a vision of his daughter but he ignores her and pulls the trigger, shooting the explosive and destroying the machine. Approaching Enchantress, Flag demands that she release June but she refuses so he destroys her heart, killing the Enchantress and freeing June from her curse. The team prepares to leave but Waller shows up with her control of the bombs and says they are going back to jail but says that she will take 10 years off of their sentences and gives special privileges to Deadshot, Harley, and Killer Croc but Joker breaks Harley out of prison and the two escape. Some time later, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne, who offers to protect her from the Midway City fallout in exchange for her information on the meta-humans. As he leaves, Waller tells him he should stop working nights, indicating that she knows he is Batman, and Bruce tells her to shut down Task Force X or he and his friends will.

Suicide Squad met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren’t enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.” While the movie was mostly finished in 2016, the criticism over Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice caused Warner Bros. to reshoot some scenes to give the movie a more comedic and light-hearted tone. The movie was a box office success, earning $745.6 million off of a $175 million budget.

Well, it could have been better but this was not that bad of a movie. The acting was decent, with Margot Robbie stealing the show as Harley Quinn, but Will Smith (Deadshot), Viola Davis (Waller) and Jay Hernandez (El Diablo) also doing good jobs. Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker was interesting but not as bad as the critics were saying. The story was ok but the way it was filmed was pretty disjointed and in parts wasteful, such as the fact that they spent half an hour just doing set-up or introduction of the different criminal members. The special effects were pretty good, especially regarding El Diablo and his powers, especially when he used them to grow into a monster. All in all, it’s a fun movie to watch, but DC has a long way to go to catch up with Marvel when it comes to live action movies.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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January 26th, 2017 Movie – Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

batman-v-superman

You know, sometimes I have to question my intelligence in buying movies sometimes. See, when I first heard about this movie, I was optimistic about it because the story it is based on is such an iconic story. However, after I saw the trailers, that optimism started to diminish. After hearing from my friends that saw the movie, I decided not to see it in theaters. I honestly wasn’t even going to buy the movie, but when an “Ultimate Edition” Blu-Ray came out, which was supposed to make some plot elements more clear, my dumb ass decided to buy it. So let’s all laugh at my stupidity over buying today’s movie, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

The plot: During the Kryptonian attack on Metropolis, Bruce Wayne flies in on a helicopter and races to his company’s building in the city, calling his friend Jack and having him evacuate everyone. Making his way through the city, Bruce gets to the building just as the building is severely damaged by Superman and Zod’s battle and witnesses it falling apart. Bruce does his best to save some of the people that are trapped by the debris, while staring helplessly at Superman and Zod as they continue fighting in the sky. 18 months later, some kids are diving in the Indian Ocean, where the World Engine had started to terraform the Eart, and discover a strange green rock. Elsewhere, Lois Lane meets up with Jimmy Olson on an assignment to interview a general who is rebelling against his country’s government. As they are brought to the general’s hideout, Lois begins interviewing him and Jimmy is about to take pictures but is stopped by Anatoli Knyazev, a contractor that is helping to supply the general with weapons, who takes apart Jimmy’s camera to reveal a tracking device. Jimmy reveals that he is CIA and the general kills him, then takes Lois prisoner. While he is inside, Anatoli and his men begin killing the general’s soldiers, then burn the bodies and leave as a drone strike is about to hit. Superman arrives, destroying the missile and drone, then flies down and rescues Lois. A congressional hearing is held, where a witness blames Superman for the deaths of the men in her village and Senator Finch plans to hold Superman accountable for his actions. In Gotham City, two police officers are called in to check out a disturbance. When they get there, they find several Asian women in cages and as they go to free them, they hear a scream coming from the floor above them. One of the cops goes to check it out and sees a criminal chained to a radiator with a bat symbol branded on him and the Batman hanging in the corner of the room, who quickly leaves when the cop shoots him. Lois returns to Metropolis and as she unpacks from her trip, Clark shows up and she tells him about the hearings but he doesn’t care as he didn’t kill the people in the village. In Gotham, Bruce heads down to the Bat Cave, where Alfred is working on Bruce’s new armor, and says he needs to find Anatoli, as he will lead him to a criminal known as the White Portuguese. Seeing the headline of the criminal being branded, Alfred warns Bruce not to let his feeling of helplessness over the Kyptonians cause him to become to cruel in his methods. Back in Metropolis, Senator Finch and her aides head to Lexcorp and meet with Lex Luthor. Lex tells her about Kryptonite and wants her to give him an import license for the rock found in the Indian Ocean, saying it can be weaponized and used as a deterrent against Superman. Finch refuses but her aide talks with Luthor and says he will make it happen. Luthor also tells him that he wants access to the wrecked Kryptonian ship and Zod’s body. Meanwhile, Wallace Keefe, the man Bruce saved during the attack, is now an amputee and climbs atop the monument of Superman and spray paints “False God” on it. As they see news report about Wallace’s arrest, Clark is given a sports assignment in Gotham but uses the trip to try and talk to the woman that was speaking against him, where he learns about the Batman. Returning to Metropolis, Clark tries to convince Perry to write about Batman but Perry refuses. Lois shows Perry a bullet from the attack in the desert and says it is a prototype military round and convinces Perry to let her go to DC to follow up on it. Bruce manages to clone Anatoli’s phone during an illegal fight and learns that Anatoli has been in contact with Luthor and considers breaking into his house but Alfred says that is not necessary, as Bruce has been invited to a charity event at Luthor’s house. Bruce goes there and and sneaks down to Lex’s computers and attaches a device to one of the computers to copy Lex’s data. Heading back upstairs, Bruce runs into Clark, who asks him about Batman but as they are talking, Lex interrupts them and speaks briefly with Bruce. Bruce heads back downstairs to retrieve the device and Clark follows him but is distracted by a news report of a deadly fire in Mexico and rushes off to deal with that. Bruce gets to the computer room and finds the device is missing and notices a woman watching him through the glass but as he tries to confront her, she quickly leaves. As the conversations continue about Superman’s actions, Clark becomes unsure as to what he should do. In DC, after Lois is unable to get any information about the bullet, she goes to see Swanwick, who says she is trying to invent a story to restore Superman’s image. Meanwhile, Bruce attends a museum gala and runs into Diana Prince, the mystery woman from Lex’s party, and she tells him that they are investigating the same man and says that she left the drive in his glove compartment. Bruce heads back to the Bat Cave and begins decrypting the information and while he does, he ends up falling asleep. Bruce has a dream where he is in a post apocalyptic world fighting against Superman and his army when he is captured and killed by Superman. Bruce wakes up only to have a strange apparition appear, saying Lois is the key and that Bruce was right about him and that Bruce should find “them”. Waking again, Bruce sees that the data is decrypted and learns that the White Portuguese is actually a ship carrying the Kryptonite to Gotham and plans to steal it to use against Superman himself. At the Daily Planet, Clark is given a package containing photos of the recently arrested criminal that was killed in prison. That night, Batman tags the truck carrying the Kryptonite then attempts to steal it but during the car chase, Superman shows up and causes the Batmobile to crash. Superman rips the hatch off the Batmobile and as the two heroes face each other, Superman tells Batman to end his vigilantism and Batman asks if Superman can bleed. When the woman who claimed to have witnessed Superman attacking the village sees Anatoli talking to some of the people from her apartment, she gets scared and goes to see Senator Finch, telling her the truth about what happened. Meanwhile, Swanwick meets with Lois and tells her that the bullet came form Lexcorp and Superman is being set up. As the Senate hearing is being televised, Bruce sees Wallace at the hearing and asks why he isn’t getting his relief checks only to learn that he was sending them back with messages written out to Bruce. Lois tries to get Perry to run her story but he refuses without a source going on record. Superman arrives at the Capital to attend the Senate hearing and when he enters the room, Senator Finch begins speaking but stops as she realizes that Luthor set her up and turns to look at Wallace and Superman follows her gaze just as Wallace’s wheelchair explodes. Superman helps with rescuing the survivors for a while, then catches Lois’ eye and quickly flies off. Meanwhile, Bruce sees the explosion on TV and breaks into Lexcorp’s research facility and steals the Kryptonite. When Luthor sees the video of this,as well as the Batarang left in the case, he gets a smile on his face. Bruce begins making weapons from the Kryptonite and as he does, he goes through Luthor’s files on Meta-Human’s and discovers the Diana is in the files, with a photo showing that she was alive in 1918 during WWI. Meanwhile, Luthor takes Zod’s body to the Kryptonian ship and gains access to the computer, where he initiate the Genesis chamber, using Zod’s body and his own blood as the genetic template. Lois investigates Wallace’s apartment and figures out that he was not aware of the bomb, then learns from her contact at the Pentagon that the chair was lined with lead, which would have prevented Superman from seeing the bomb. Clark climbs up to the top of a mountain to be in exile, where he sees a vision of his dad, Jonathan, while Alfred tries to talk Bruce out of fighting with Superman but Bruce refuses to listen and heads out to Gotham and turns on the Bat Signal. In Smallville, Martha is kidnapped by Anatoli and his men, who then kidnap Lois as well and take her to Lexcorp. On the rooftop helipad, Luthor taunts Lois and says that he found the best way to get to Superman was to threaten her, then proceeds to push her off the roof. Superman saves Lois from falling, then flies back up to confront Luthor. Luthor reveals that he knows who Superman is, then tells him that he wants him to fight Batman to the death and threatens to have Martha killed if he doesn’t do it, showing him pictures to prove that he has her. Luthor flies off in his helicopter, telling Superman he has less than an hour to kill Batman or else Martha dies. Clark says goodbye to Lois before flying to Gotham and she heads to the planet, where she tells Perry to get her a chopper to fly her to Gotham. Meanwhile, energy surges are flaring up around the Kryptonian ship, causing the power to flicker around the city. Diana is preparing to leave when she gets an email from Bruce, asking her about the picture, as well as sending the attachments on the other Meta-Humans that Luthor was tracking; Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. In Gotham, Superman flies to where Batman is waiting for him and attempts to talk to him but Batman immediately starts attacking Superman. Superman is able to easily overcome Batman’s attacks but Batman fires a grenade at Superman, which explodes and releases a Kryptonite gas that weakens him. Batman begins pummeling Superman and just as Superman starts to get his strength back, Batman shoots him with another grenade. As Superman lies battered on the ground, Batman grabs a spear with a Kryptonite tip that he fashioned and prepares to kill Superman but pauses when Superman says he is letting him kill Martha and begs Batman to save her. Lois arrives and tells Batman that Martha is the name of Superman’s mother and Batman ends up throwing the spear away. Lois explains what is going on and Superman heads back to Metropolis while Batman goes to save Martha. Batman heads to the warehouse where Martha is being held and fights his way through Anatoli’s men, then shoots the flamethrower that Anatoli is about to use and shields Martha from the explosion. Superman reaches the Kryptonian ship and confronts Luthor, who learns that Batman has saved Martha, and informs Superman that he had a backup plan, showing Superman the creature he created in the Genesis chamber and calling it his Doomsday. Doomsday moves to strike Luthor but Superman stops it and begins fighting with the creature but it easily knocks him away. When the military tries attacking Doomsday, he destroys the helicopters but is attacked by Superman, who carries him up into space. The military use that opportunity to fire a nuke at Doomsday and Superman, seeing the missile approaching, holds Doomsday in place so it will hit him. When the missile impacts, Doomsday falls to Earth but Superman is left in space, seemingly dead. Batman tries attacking the creature and realizing that it is Kryptonian in nature, leads it back to Gotham so he can use the spear to kill it. Doomsday strikes the Batwing, causing it to crash but before he can kill Batman, Diana, who had seen the events occurring on the news, shields him from the blast and knocks Doomsday back. Superman, revitalized by the sun, returns and the three begin fighting Doomsday. Meanwhile, Lois goes to retrieve the spear but ends up trapped in the flooded museum by some debris. Superman hears her struggles and goes to rescue her and retrieve the spear, then tells her that he loves her and flies off with the spear. Diana uses her lasso to snare Doomsday and Batman fires his last grenade at it to weaken the monster, allowing Superman to plunge the spear in it’s heart. Doomsday roars in pain and stabs Superman in the chest with a bone appendage that it had grown but Superman pushes the spear even further into the monsters chest and they both collapse to the ground dead. As Lois cries over Superman’s body, the police arrive at the ship and arrest Luthor for his role in the events. The next morning, the Daily Planet prints the story about Superman’s death, as well as an article about Clark’s death while covering the events in Gotham. In Smallville, Lois is laying in Clark’s bed when Martha hands her an envelope that Clark had sent there, which she opens to reveal an engagement ring. As a funeral service is held for  Superman, a smaller service is held for Clark, with Lois, Perry, and some other members of the Daily Planet attending. After the service, Martha learns that Clark’s funeral was paid for by an anonymous donor and as Lois kneels by the grave, Bruce and Diana are seen watching from a distance. Bruce asks Diana to help him find the others, as they will be needed to protect the world in Superman’s absence. In a flashback, Batman pays a visit to Luthor, saying that he is having Luthor transferred to Arkham Asylum but Luthor says that it s already done, hinting that they already know that Superman is dead and will be coming. Back in Smallville, Lois drops some dirt onto Clark’s coffin and walks away but as she does, some of the dirt is shown to be levitating up off of the coffin.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story — and some of America’s most iconic superheroes — in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.” While the movie had an impressive opening weekend (earning $422.5 million worldwide), the bad word of mouth from critics and audiences caused it to set records regarding box office drop off. From Friday to Sunday of it’s opening weekend, it suffered a 58% decline in ticket sales, beating a record set by Fantastic Four (2015), and at the beginning of it’s second week, suffered a historic 81.2% drop from the previous Friday and a 68.4% drop over the weekend despite there being no significant competition that weekend. Despite all that, the movie was a box office success, earning $873.3 million off of a $250 million budget.

There is no real way for me to be objective about this movie so let me just go ahead and say it. As impressive of an action movie as it may appear, this just terrible on so many levels. While I did like Henry Cavill in Man Of Steel, he seemed too stiff and robotic in this movie. I liked Amy Adams reprisal of Lois Lane and thought Gal Gadot made a great Wonder Woman, but was honestly kind of meh regarding Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman and thought Jesse Eisenberg was terrible as Luthor. The story is probably the biggest problem I have with this movie. Now, I get the initial reasoning for Batman’s distrust of Superman and how he has all this power but doesn’t always consider the consequences of his actions because that is a concern that has come up in the comics numerous times. However, Batman is a genius and also known as the World’s Greatest Detective so he would have been able to figure out that he was being manipulated into the fight with Superman. Also, the whole “Martha” scene was one of the dumbest things I have seen in a long while, and considering some of the movies I own, that is saying something. The set-up for a future Justice League movie was actually pretty good, though they seem to be giving Luthor too much of a role in all of it. Then there is the whole Doomsday sub-plot, which honestly was such a waste. The creation of Doomsday in this movie aside, this is the being that KILLED Superman, and he gets relegated to about 12-15 minutes of screen time in a movie that is 3 hours long. He should be the main villain in a full movie, not simply brought in as an afterthought. The special effects for the movie were pretty good, and a lot of the action scenes were well done, though the additional abilities that they decided to give Doomsday were a bit much. All in all, this was really disappointment of a movie that most comic fans will not want to watch.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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January 25th, 2017 Movie – Man Of Steel

man-of-steel

Soooo, I bought today’s movie a while back after it had been out on DVD and had it placed with the rest of the Superman movies. Then I bought Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (not entirely sure why) and found myself in a bit of a conundrum. See, technically, it was a sequel of today’s movie so I had placed it with the other Superman movies. However, both of these movies wound up being part of DC’s new movie universe, so I should probably put it with the “D’s”, but I was honestly fighting that temptation. When I got Suicide Squad for Christmas, I just gave up the fight and went ahead and reorganized my collection so I could place the DC universe together. So let’s go ahead and get things started with today’s movie, Man Of Steel.

The plot: On the planet Krypton, Jor-El is speaking before the Supreme Council and tells them that Krypton’s core is collapsing and recommends that the Council give him control of the codex so he can ensure their race’s survival. Before the Council can say anything, General Zod and his soldiers blast their way into the chamber, killing one of the council members and taking the others prisoner in a coup, including Jor-El when he refuses to join him. Jor-El manages to escape and contacts his wife,Lara,  telling her to prepare the launch, then flies off. Jor-El heads to where the codex is kept and grabs it, then heads back to his house, pursued by some of Zod’s men but he manages to evade them. When he gets there, he places the codex in a small ship and asks Lara if she found a world to send their son and she says she has, but is having second thoughts on sending him. When Zod and his forces arrive at the house to retrieve the codex, Jor-El kills two of Zod’s men, then fights with Zod and stalls him long enough for Lara to launch the ship. In a rage, Zod kills Jor-El, then orders his men to destroy the ship, but the Kryptonian forces have managed to defeat Zod’s forces and take him prisoner. Zod and his remaining men are tried and sentenced to the Phantom Zone and as Lara returns to her home, she watches as Krypton falls apart and wishes her son Kal-El to make his new home a better world. The ship carrying Kal-El makes it’s way to Earth and crashes in a field in Kansas. Decades later, Kal-El, who was named Clark Kent by the couple that found him as a baby, is working as a deck hand on a fishing boat when they receive word of an oil rig that is on fire. Clark sneaks off the ship and heads to the rig, where he is able to free some trapped workers and help get them onto a rescue helicopter, then keeps part of the rig from collapsing on the helicopter, but ends up falling into the ocean as the rig explodes. As he sinks beneath the water, Clark flashes back to when he was a kid and he has trouble dealing with his powers as they begin to manifest. After an incident where Clark saves some of his classmates when their school bus crashes into a lake, Clark asks his adopted father, Jonathan Kent, for answers and Jonathan takes him to the barn and shows him the space ship that Clark came in and says that Clark was sent here for a reason. Back in the present time, as the adult Clark is still making his way across the country, Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane is up in the Arctic for a story about a discovery buried deep in the ice and as she heads out at night to take some pictures, she sees Clark and decides to follow him. Clark uses heat vision to make a tunnel to the object and discovers an ancient Kryptonian scout ship buried under the ice. Using the crystal that was with him when he arrived, Clark powers up the ship and begins exploring but when Lois heads inside the ship and is attacked by a security drone, Clark destroys the drone, then tends to Lois’s injury before flying off in the ship. When Lois is found by the military, she writes up her story but her editor, Perry White, refuses to publish it so she leaks the story online in the hopes of it getting back to the mystery man. Meanwhile, Clark lands the ship on an iceberg and sees a holographic image of Jor-El, who explains what happened to Krypton and why he was sent to Earth. Lois Lane begins following all of the stories of mysterious heroics and manages to backtrack them to Smallville, where she meets with Martha Kent, Clark’s adopted mother. Lois goes to Jonathan’s grave, where she meets Clark and he tells her about how Jonathan died in a tornado and he was unable to save him at Jonathan’s request, and tells her how his father wanted him to keep his abilities a secret so as not to scare everyone else and Lois decides to kill her story. The next day, the military spot a ship in lunar orbit just as a drone descends to Earth and broadcast a message worldwide from Zod, ordering Kal-El to surrender within 24 hours or the Earth will suffer the consequences. When word gets out about Lois’ story, she is picked up by the FBI for questioning. After some questioning on what to do, Clark decides to surrender himself to Lt. General Calvin Swanwick on the condition that he gets to speak with Lois and she is set free afterwards. After speaking with Lois and Swanwick, Clark is taken to the desert and is greeted by Sub-Commander Faora Hu-Ul, who demands that Lois come as well and Lois agrees. When they reach Zod’s ship, Clark grows sick from the ship’s atmosphere and passes out, where he has a dream involving Zod and what his plans are for Earth. While Zod sends two craft down to Earth, Lois is placed in a holding chamber but uses the command key that Clark gave her to infiltrate the system. The hologram of Jor-El appears and helps Lois escape, as well as changing the atmosphere to one benefiting humans. Clark is able to escape as well and, seeing Lois’ escape pod in trouble, Clark flies out and saves her from dying in reentry. Meanwhile, Zod, Faora, and several other Kryptonians arrive at Martha’s house looking for the codex and when they don’t find it, they threaten Martha but Clark shows up and begins fighting with Zod. When he damages Zod’s helmet, Zod finds himself bombarded by all of his hyper-senses and is temporarily incapacitated. Faora and another Kryptonian attack Clark while Zod is taken to safety and as his ship leaves, the military arrives and begins attacking all three Kryptonians. Clark does his best to fight off both Kryptonians and save the soldiers and civilians and eventually the two Kryptonians leave, while Colonel Nathan “Guardian” Hardy tells his men that Clark is not the enemy. Clark goes to check on his mom and while he is there, Lois arrives and tells him she knows how to stop Zod. Meanwhile, Zod is informed that the Codex has been bonded with Clark’s blood so Zod orders the World Engine to be released and to begin terraforming Earth into a new Krypton. Clark, Lois, and Guardian head back to the command base with Clark’s ship, telling Swanwick of their plan to stop Zod. Clark flies off to destroy the World Engine, while Guardian and Lois accompany a military squad to the other ship, preparing to drop the ship that Clark arrived in onto Zod’s ship, so that the two phantom drives will open a singularity that will send the Kryptonians back to the Phantom Zone. Meanwhile, Zod flies a ship to the Arctic and boards the scout ship there and while the hologram of Jor-El argues with Zod, Zod overrides Jor-El’s programming and erases him. Clark manages to destroy the World Engine and Guardian steers the cargo plane towards Zod’s ship but as Professor Hamilton and Lois try to arm the ship, Zod flies the scout craft towards them and destroy’s their escort planes. Clark shows up and destroys the scout craft while Faora boards the plane and begins killing the soldiers. Hamilton arms the ship and Guardian pilots the plane into Zod’s ship. The collision triggers the singularity, sending all of the Kryptonians, their ship, as well as the plane into the Phantom Zone. Lois was thrown from the plane by the explosion but Clark saves her and as they land, the two embrace and kiss. Zod emerges from the scout ship and Clark approaches him and tries talking to him but Zod refuses to listen and says that he will kill all of humanity to make Clark suffer what Zod has lost. The two begin fighting, with Zod getting more control over his powers as the fight goes on. When Clark has Zod in a headlock, Zod threatens to kill some onlookers and Clark is forced to break Zod’s neck, killing him, then drops to his knees and cries out at what he has done. Some time later, Clark destroys a surveillance drone that was following him and confronts Swanwick, telling him he is not an enemy of the US but he has to be able to operate on his own terms. Clark then gets a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet, so he can be able to keep aware of what is going on while not looking suspicious for being in dangerous areas, and Lois quickly welcomes him to the job.

Man Of Steel met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Man of Steel‘s exhilarating action and spectacle can’t fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.” The movie was a box office hit, earning $668 million off of a $225 million budget, making it the highest grossing Superman movie and the second highest grossing reboot behind The Amazing Spider-Man. Due to the success of the movie, Warner Bros. decided to push forward with plans for their own extended movie universe featuring other DC Comics characters in an attempt to compete with Marvel/Disney’s MCU.

Ok, I know that when it comes to comic book movies, it is hard to be objective about the movie and not compare it to the source material. That being said, as far as movies go, this was a pretty decent movie but it lacked some of Superman’s character. The acting was pretty good, with Henry Cavill doing a good job as playing Superman. Amy Adams (Lois), Michael Shannon (Zod) and Laurence Fishburne (Perry) were also good in their roles, but I really liked Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe as Jonathan Kent and Jor-El respectively. I did like the plot and the story of the movie, with the early parts of Clark wandering the globe to find himself being fairly true to some of the modern comics. The special effects were really good, especially the scenes on Krypton, which looked amazing. The big problem I had was mainly with Superman and how reckless they made him in the movie in order to make it more exciting. Let’s face it, everyone knows that Superman is pretty much the perennial good guy and does everything in his power to save lives. As such, he’s not going to go throwing people through buildings and such because he will try to avoid unnecessary casualties at all possible. Character issues aside, this was an entertaining movie and worth a watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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