Review – East Coast Cape v West Coast Cape (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)

In one of THE most highly anticipated movies of the superhero genres, two iconic caped crusaders duke it out for the very first time (unless you count the similar fight they had on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, part 2, the Warner Bros. animated feature film). But what’s a movie based on a comic book if you can’t have some guest heroes show up for added fun, right?
*

*
We pick up 18 months from 2013’s Man of Steel where Superman (Henry Cavill) killed General Zod (Michael Shannon), while nearly taking out all of Metropolis in the process. One of those buildings belonged to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), who’s been the secret vigilante crime-fighter known as Batman over in Gotham City across the bay for the past 20 years. But all is not well for ol’ Sup’s, as he’s looked at by many, especially Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), as a potential menace to society (even though he does save lives). Enter the architect of evil and super-loony whiz-kid, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who owns vast LexCorp, a diabolical research facility.

Luthor has discovered a major chunk of Kryptonite which he plans on doing nasty things with against you-know-who, but it gets stolen by Batman who plans on taking out the space alien for good. Geez, does everyone hate Superman? Well, Alfred (Jeremy Irons) likes him. . .sorta. Superman doesn’t know what to do: stay a hero or just chuck it all and live with his loving girlfriend, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and delve deeper into the Batman issue over in Gotham City. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has uncovered a sinister plot by Luthor involving meta-humans. We get a glimpse at these super-humans, like a super-fast kid (Ezra Miller’s soon-to-be The Flash), an underwater sea-man with super-powers (Jason Momoa’s soon-to-be Aquaman) and a half-man/half-machine (Ray Fisher’s soon-to-be Cyborg). Oh yeah, and a certain Amazon princess who Bruce met at a party.

Anyway, Lex has cooked up wild scheme to not only shame Superman, but resurrect the dead body of Gen. Zod using alien tech and kill “the god” Superman if plan ‘B’ doesn’t work out. What’s plan ‘B’? Kidnap Clark Kent’s mommy (Diane Lane) and force him to kill the Batman. . .or else! Here we get the awesome fight of the century with full battle-armor Batman going toe-to-toe with Superman using Kryptonite weapons. BUT! Lex decides that plan ‘B’ is still pretty sweet and unleashes his newly hatched giant spiky creature he calls Doomsday.

With Batman and Superman now the same side, a third superhero shows up. It’s Diane Prince (Gal Gadot), a beautiful ancient warrior gal (Yay! It’s Wonder Woman!) who joins the fray with the boys. A major fight ensues and. . .well, I won’t give away the tragic ending, but if you’ve read the battle between Superman and Doomsday comics, you already know what happens. On the plus side, the movie does set it up for a Justice League origin movie, or would that be a sequel to this one?

Ever since the Batman v Superman logo appeared in the movie I Am Legend back in 2007, fan-boys have been clamoring for this movie and director Zack Snyder does not disappoint. With a long, but intricate screenplay by Chris Terrio (Man of Steel) and David S. Goyer (the Dark Knight trilogy), the story ping-pong’s through, not only the main Batman vs Superman story, but many other side-plots and characters. Both Clark and Bruce share great moments together as do returning Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) and Secretary Stanwick (Harry Lennix). Check out the new Batmobile and Batwing, too!

This version does have a few plot holes and gaps that will probably be filled in with the three-hour DVD version to be released later on. And while it gets a little daunting at times to keep up with what’s going on, it’s all worth in the end. The action comes in spurts, interlaced with Lois’ investigations, Superman’s confusion, Batman’s brooding about criminals, and Lex’s megalomania, the movie gets dark and violent. Oh, and to end the debate, Affleck is terrific as the Bat and shows he can carry the mantle easily while Eisenberg is creepy insane and is almost Joker-like in relishing in his evilness.

King Kong vs Godzilla (1962)

*


*
You want two icon’s duking it out? You got it! You want them 10 stories tall and causing massive property damage, too? Not a problem! In the world of silly, this is silly plus ten. Japan’s world-wide phenom, Godzilla, meets and does battle with the USA’s reigning champ, King Kong and all because of one man’s greed.

Aside from all the King Kong-sized lawsuits that happened when selling off the rights to the apes franchise, the Japanese came up with a bizarre story (well, aren’t they all?) about how these two mega-monsters should meet and fight. They had a Mr. Tako (Ichiro Arishima), who’s the head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, being frustrated with the television shows his company is sponsoring and needs something to boost his ratings. He hears about a giant monster (Kong) on small Faro Island and believes the monster would be a brilliant publicity gag that would bring in the megabucks. Tako immediately sends two men, Sakurai (Tadao Takashima) and Kinsaburo (Yu Fujiki), to find and bring back said creature.

Meanwhile, an American sub accidentally unleashes Godzilla (who was frozen in an iceberg), who then destroys the submarine and a nearby military base. So, where does Godzilla head for after that? Japan, of course! Sakurai and Kinsaburo manage to sedate Kong and transport him back to Japan and, as luck would have it, arrives in town just as ol’ nuclear breath shows up. Kong wakes up and engages Godzilla in a brief battle, but he retreats after Godzilla nearly burns him alive. Ouch! That’s gotta sting!

The JSDF (Japanese Self-Defense Force) tries to blow-up Godzilla (doesn’t work) and electrocute Kong (only makes him stronger!), so they decide to let them fight and hope they’ll just kill each other. They sedate Kong and transport him (via balloons!!) to Godzilla where their epic battle commences beneath Mount Fuji. In the end, the two plummet into the sea, but only Kong swims away alive. Did Godzilla survive? Hmmm…

Directed by the great Ishiro Honda, undoubtedly the most prolific and respected Japanese director ever. His 30-plus year career as a ‘Godzilla’ or kaiju (monster) film director is universally recognized world over in books and films. Sure, this movie is silly with a capital “S”, but it’s entertaining and boasts great SPFX and miniatures for the early 60’s. And hey, grown men wearing huge rubber suits stomping around on large scale sets pretending to take all this stuff seriously? Are you kidding me? You just have to smile.

This movie spawned a new look for Godzilla, but a terrible look for King Kong, which outraged fans of Willis O’Brien, the creator of the original stop-motion Kong of the 30’s. It seemed the Japanese rubber suit makers just couldn’t get it right and Kong ended up looking ridiculous with extra long arms and a cartoon-y looking face. Nevertheless, it scored huge at the box office and, thankfully, never had a sequel. BUT! Godzilla battling other monsters proved to be a major selling point and soon he was fighting other ‘legends’ like Rodan, Mothra, and even mechanical versions of himself (MechaGodzilla).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s