After years of campaigning, begging and pleading from the fans who were disappointed in the 2017 theatrical release of Justice League, Zack Snyder seemed to hear the cries of the many and went back to business to make his vision a reality. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was promised to be a darker, grander, more epic version of what could have been had Snyder not abandoned the project due to personal issues (Can you blame him for what happened?). While Joss Whedon stepped in and tried his best to deliver a quippier, lighter, and more colorful take akin to his work on The Avengers, it still felt like something was missing, and 2017’s Justice League eventually got buried in the pile of mediocre DC films. Now, in 2021, the groans of disgust have now become tears of joy, as Snyder’s cut finally got a release on HBO Max.
It took a long time for DC to get the formula right for a fun, light-heated adventure like ‘Shazam!’, but here we are! In a world saturated by superhero movies, one rises up to prove itself to be a little different than the rest, and that turns out to be a good thing. It is hard to believe we came a long way from the dark, grey matter that was ‘Man of Steel’ to a bright and colorful rainbow known as ‘Shazam!’; it has the makings of ‘Big’ if it were a superhero movie and has the giddy childlike nature to show, but does not risk its intensity and punches to make for an entertaining action movie.
One would think that a ‘Teen Titans Go!’ movie would be unnecessary, and not worth the time, but in my case (and many other critics who saw this), as juvenile as it is, it could be entertaining at times. The idea that the titular Titans have never had a theatrical movie when compared to the over-saturation of ‘Superman’ and ‘Batman’ films is fodder for satire. Not to mention that ‘Teen Titans Go! To the Movies’ is a fun animated rush, even if it does run out of steam during its second act.
I understand how hard it is to bring everyone’s favorite superheroes together in one movie; but if Joss Whedon can make a superhero crossover fun in Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, I am sure Zack Snyder could do it too with ‘Justice League’. When compared to ‘Man of Steel’, or ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘JL’ is way more light-hearted in tone and just as brightly colored as ‘Wonder Woman’; yet as the days go by, I find myself forgetting almost every detail due to its jumbled ability to find the right story. It takes a while to put these heroes together, because Snyder wants to expand the universe and re-introduce us to the characters we all know. Obviously The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg have not had their own movies yet, and we only got to see glimpses of them in ‘Batman V. Superman’. Now we get to see them together in one movie! The result is a fun film, yet a convoluted mess.
Gal Gadot may be a sight on screen, with her lush lips, flowing locks of black hair, and ability to kick ass, yet so is the gorgeously shot atmosphere that feels like a breath of fresh air after trudging through the grey area in ‘Man of Steel’, the dimly-lit/darkened hallway of ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (where Gadot first appeared as Wonder Woman in a supporting role in order to set up the ‘Justice League’), and the neon-drenched city of ‘Suicide Squad’ (I would say we shrunk ourselves through a rainbow of colorful bricks in the play set for ‘The Lego Batman Movie, yet whether you count is an addition to the DC Expanded Universe is up to you. I assure you, it’s not.). It feels like it has been forever since we experienced the beauty of being outside again, and director Patty Jenkins has given us something to admire. (Even though I had a good time in the city of ‘Suicide Squad’, and will come back again when the sequel comes out.) The air of Themyscira is fresh, while the atmosphere of London, England during WWI is busy in the daytime, yet quiet and peaceful at night, with the occasional fight/riot to give us an adrenaline rush.
When Robin/Dick Grayson (Voice of Michael Cera) asks Batman (Voice of Will Arnett) if the Bat-Mobile has seat belts on their first outing in the LEGO version of Gotham City (Which I might add is as beautiful as it is visually appealing to the eyes), Batman’s reply is “Life doesn’t give you seatbelts!”. This quote is what makes the LEGO incarnation of the Caped Crusader a comic gem. He was first introduced to audiences as a supporting comic relief in ‘The LEGO Movie’, which proved to be a major success. Batman is one of the greatest superheroes that doesn’t really need to fly around cities to capture villains, such as The Joker (Voiced in this movie by Zach Galifianakis), The Riddler (Voiced here by Conan O’Brien) and many others I do not need to mention. He has gadgets, a sense of vengeance, and the smarts to tackle any problem. There have been many incarnations of Batman, from Adam West’s campy family friendly bat to Ben Affleck’s Superman-fighting machine, but no other incarnation seems to be so macho, and filled with self-confidence as much as a toy version of Batman.
Score: 4.5 out of 5