Thursday, March 24, 2016

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

A little forward thinking one should set things up in advance to get more done in less time. I sometimes write these when I can and since I'm assuming before diving into this movie that it's going to be another origin story (about the characters we know better than our family) I decided to have some wine. It's an Adult beverage that I enjoy, in retrospect I should not have. Remember the words of Ernest Hemingway "Write Drunk, Edit Sober", though if it's an analytical piece this mantra might not work out so well. Also I don't think the phrase was to be taken literally, though this is the mess we've been giving, it's color commentary, I'll try to explain myself the best I can with the words I wrote. With this little bit about me, and my writing methods, let's dive into this feature film finely focused forefront on this terrific trinity that gives homage to heroic heroes.

Initial response to cover, underwhelming. It's not really interesting, I mean the design is cool, this will sell for that alone, since the demographic is for teens and mature folks. Though the over all the trinity coming toward the audience in an action pose feels wrong. Well this is post watching speaking, but even before watching the film it feels more like a 90's take on a Superhero DVD cover. It's a cliche that a lot of artists are trying to avoid, it looks interesting and exciting, though it's something that's over done. Also knowing the characters, comic, animated series, or this film they wouldn't attack with this formation. Wonder Woman would lead, with Superman doing crowd control, and Batman picking off the ones that want to escape the blunt fray that Bekka (Wonder Woman) has brought upon them all. Then there's the story that the cover is telling us, what does it mean, is this all an interstellar mission, are these alien versions of the trinity, will we be traveling into an alternate reality with the same minds of the characters we know? From this cover it seem it's like Batman Beyond, this is the next generation, since the originals have passed. In a way this implies that it's like the Legion of Superheroes, since they'll be going from planet to planet, trying to save the people there, though unable to stop this world crushing fiend. It's a much better plot, don't worry, though this is what I'm getting from this cover alone, Space Justice (every cartoon in the 70's-80's had a Space version, Gilligan's Island, Josie and the Pussycats, and even Yogi Bear was a Space Cop for a little while, why not the Super Friends). Even with that all behind us, this is a really well colored pieces, everything feels like it's moving and progressing toward a climatic position. Even with my problems with it, this cover grabbed my attention and didn't let me go from the moment I saw it. And with curiosity high, why not start the film and see what is the true plot of the movie.

The film opens with Zod attacking Jor-El and stopping Lara (Lara Lor-Van, sounds like vague German and less SpaceMom) from sending their son into space. Right off the bat, the acting is compelling and beautiful, it doesn't feel like these are voices, it feels more like these are actors on a stage and animators place cartoon veils over these figures. It's a really stunning cast. Zod injects an extended phalange into (I implied nothing and was very blunt with what Zod did to the robot, in a way foreshadowing) the robot and has now implied that he's created a clone of himself for the universe, pretty much a plausible version of the Man of Steel story, since a child would either go insane or die from not having food. This cloning idea is a ton better since it puts the subject in a science tube that brings them to life when at a planet. Meaning that it doesn't start cloning till it's within the vicinity of a planet that's suitable for life, then takes its time to make the spawn of Krypton. The music reflects the mood like a charm, it's perfect in every way, tension and excitement for a character's origin that we all know backwards and forwards.

We open with the ship on Earth, a man with a cane is studying the goop of the ship, it's Lex limping around. Strangest part is when he puts his pen in the goop made it click, since he just placed it in the mess to get an idea of what kind of fluid texture. The alien child is taken by a Mexican family, sounds like Red Son, I want to see a version of Superman in every country, though it really matters the timeline.

Then the three people on the cover are floating down to the ground while many guns are fired at them. There's just a quick moment of Superman's origin, then we're shooting all of the heroes of this world. It sets a mood, these might not be the heroes with the best intentions. Since there's no talking, nothing is said to these men and bullets come flying out into the darkened sky to pause these three for a moment before death pour from their hands, falling to the ground and into graves. Superman (Looks just like Zod, though there's a bit of Lara) is very firm with his points on death, same with this Batman who kills without a problem, I think he's a vamp since he drank a dude (I realize that drinking and saying this line have a few parallels, since I'm destroying the analytical part of this review, as is this Batman is to this man's neck). Also this Wonder Woman looks like another Superman character, the woman that wanted to marry him (Queen Maxima, I like this design better, though I've always like the Saiyan uniforms more).

Man this thing is dark, death and tension is high, it's really amazing that there are characters within this world that attack with strength and skill, but can't harm the other. This shows much experience of the director and the creators of the film, it's a bloodbath in an animation. It takes a different take on all the Superman and Batman cartoons, though it is the same. Okay I gotta jump into the nostalgic engine and slap on my evocative goggles. This film's story is written by Bruce Timm, as we know this is the man that brought Superman and Batman back to life. His involvement with the DC Animated Universe is some of the best spiritual translations of the characters to date. So his involvement with this new movie is a big deal, since he's writing it with Alan Burnett and the film is directed by Sam Liu. What I'm getting at is Superman and Batman the Animated Series dealt with a lot of adult themes, mind you they weren't always flat out for one to see, but for those that read into things there was a lot between the lines. In this film there's not too much that has happened, but I could write a book on what all these first few minutes could mean for the rest of the film and how these characters effect the world that they live in based on the moments shared in this terrorism subduing scene. All in all there's a lot of similarities that make this film and animated series similar, though even with tropes and cliches it's still an original breath in the film industry that one doesn't see often. Okay, everyone out, I'm leaving the goggles on, but the ride's over, let's get back to the film.

As this world's Justice League finishes the job they give a few cues to a woman that will appreciate their skill and talents. I'm guessing it's Amanda Walker, though I could be wrong, but this is the logical conclusion other than Lois Lane. One thing I thought was witty, since this would be seen as a Watchmen like movie they took a swing at themselves doing the whole "Who's Watching the Watchmen?" nod. Justice League seems to be very extreme (not in the 90's sense of the phrase, but in the utmost position on what is Justice), also Lex is with the government, though Superman is still against Lex, it's interesting. It's a complete flip on the relationship between Superman and Lex and America, though all of these characters have different responsibilities than they once held.

Stone, who is stone, I know this name, Silas stone. Why do I know that name?
(Says the man drinking wine and created/contributes to a Cyborg cartoon and comic blog)

Also Mexican Batman is awesome (I think what happened was my assumption that the Justice League were all Mexican, though a Day of the Dead Batman would look amazing), the actor played the character perfectly. The League is like Gods, and they treat people like such. This has always been a remark about the League. Yes, I'm still wearing the goggles, in the past and totally in the future, people have and will see the Justice League as an impenetrable wall. A league above the rest that can't be harmed, so if you're on the team you can never be killed, though that was never the point of their existence. If you've ever played a game with a group (co-op) you know that there are roles that need to be taken (Tank, Offensive, Healer, Sniper). It's a basic line up, so there's no holes in the formation, since one can alternate members and things will still be strong. If there's no need for more players then the game is a solo adventure that has no point for it to be a corruptive situation. That's one of the reasons that the Justice League is so great is there sense of balance with each other, taking on what the others lack, improving attributes and shrinking problematic aspects. They're all competent individuals, though there area problems that need a different touch or is to large of a problem that needs more hands in the mess. Though that's what the Justice League animated series showed us, that some issues are social, that they can't be solved with a punch. Leading the world like a God isn't a way to gain allies, it's a perfect way to create Monsters in the eyes of humanity. It's the main theme of the film (even the title of the movie), and a plot point that's not over looked or underplayed by the subplot. Well, moving back to the play button and to the film.

The City where the Justice League's "Hall of Justice" (Skyscraper of Justice, fine Tower of Justice) reminds me of Batman Beyond, it's an interesting setting, since it's not the future, though it's a future-scape. We're in the arctic or the mountains since snow all around this guy with a snowmobile, being chased by a robot that seems to have come out of a boomtube, though it wasn't a boomtube, which would be a dead give away that it's Darkseid. Also the guy is bitten by the robot thing, Jinkies it's a clue!

Then we're in another undisclosed location and see a tiny horse, I think these are Atom's, it's really neat to see Palmer in the film, also his CGI car is obvious, though it's a night scene so it's not that clear, well done. Now a joke involving the tiny horses, then the writers punish Palmer with a robot from the snow chasing and trying to kill the Atom. The Robot runs the car off the road, about 20-40 feet up into a rocky area, Palmer should be dead, no wait the robot fixed that mistake.

They're looking to cure Batman, also Metal Men are weird (they're always weird, though in this film they're just robots), Will Magnus is married to Tina (flesh and blood, not Platinum), and Tin is a robot servant, no personality. Is Will a Bio-Chemist in this world?

Stone is Cyborg's last name!
(Brainstem connected)

Then they cut to Silas Stone testing his sound gun at a rock wall, wearing a football jersey. I knew I knew of Stone, Ha, oh wine… Stone talks with his son and talks about the project, it's vague, though it helps the mystery of the film. Does he have something to do with the tension of stopping the Justice League or the Robots or something that we haven't seen yet? Also the robots attack Stone (So that's a maybe on the robots), it looks like the Omac robots. Then the Robot throws a locker at Stone, which might have killed him, nope back up and Stone with son after fighting for their lives are killed. It's a sad note that we can't see Cyborg in this reality, though in a way Silas was a loving father in this world and didn't ignore his son that seems to have lead to Victor's accident.

Next day, Lois Lane is a Redhead (loving this version), she's still a tough Army brat.
(Redhead reporter… April? This isn't the right place, New York City is… well I'm not sure if there is one in this reality)

Professor Steeping takes on the mantle of Superman,
Tea Steeping his niece is Wonder Woman,
and Gom cosplays as Batman.

The Banter of the League is wonderful. Oh and the Stone family are dead in the room… respect for the dead, maybe there's more in the next room. Kurt (is Batman, also it's Kirk, note to self don't learn names while drinking) has found the other dead scientists. It seems that all the robots are like each version of this world's Justice League. Each dead scientist is dead because of a robot that attacks them in a way that Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman would kill someone. The hard part about these murders in world is that the police or detectives or any other official know that the Justice League has killed more often than left folks alive. Though the confusing point is that it's people who aren't sinister in their actions.

Superman said to stay on top of a guy named Trevor, Wonder Woman was down to be in such a position, it seems she's talked much about her positions with Trevor in a past life (this was not the wine talking, this was in the film, even in the short film, check out the review of all three). I'm digging that this can be adult, though not "90's" adult, were there's blood everywhere and sex, it's tasteful, mature, something about it is less like a kids feature and more like a drama.

We're at a college, the league is trying to prove that they are not responsible for the death's of the scientists, also we get a list of the "Ten Little Indians" Freeze, Palmer, Magnus, and Stone, also Thaddeus (where have I seen that name? It might be alluding to the Thawne family) these are the people that could be killed at any time by the robots. I like that there's no other superheroes in the world, it's like these three were the top of the barrel and made sure that no one was able to overthrow their top marks. Lex seems to be a linking person between these deaths.

We have a flashback to the first moment that Kirk and Will and Tina created Batman or Man-Bat (since there wasn't a Batman in this world). Tina gives Kirk a pep talk and they head off to the party. Will is being weird, he wants to have a sex night with Tina though Kirk's in the same apartment. I guess this is a switch on the personalities of Magnus and Platinum, if you've ever read the comic, she would have jumped in bed, given the chance or option. Though Will feels more aggressive, more obsessed with his girlfriend.

I love that Will mentions that the nanites are the Metal Men (Iron, Lead, Gold, Mercury), though left out Tin and Platinum, it's a boat in a bottle that is made in said bottle, totally different from a model ship. This is important since Will Magnus is an amazing robotics expert in our reality and in this one too. Though instead of making the trying to make intelligence in artificial beings, which in the comics he has done, but here he's unable to do so, but has come close. One thing that's completely different is that he's able to make something from nothing, rearranging particles so they are something else changing things on a level that in reality we've never been even close to being able to do. It's something I'd want to look into more, though that can be more involved at a different time and media.

Kirk is dying, we're not sure why, though this is something that's affecting him. Tina and Will get the sicken Kirk to his dorm's bed, giving him something to rest, then they just leave (worst bedside manner). Why is Tina still wearing her dress from the party, is this all happening within 24 hours? At this point I'm not sure if it's the wine of it's the pacing of the film. Kirk suggests that the serum will help, Will helps his friend possibly kill himself with the drug to make a Bat hybrid. Kirk freaks out in his room and is seeing the world in an odd fashion, then finds an alley with two thieves and takes both of them down while craving blood, where he drinks from one of them.

Flashback ends with the cleaning lady entering the room as he flies away. Lois Lane is talking to someone, her voice is beautiful and strong (Paget Brewster, amazing talent), she talks to a person on the phone, Superman is at her window, there's no sexual attraction, though there is a rivalry that seems to be in the air. Superman flirts with Lois and she excepts his invite to the tower, she drives there rather than fly with him. We see the core and the hidden energy that's in the middle of the tower, Superman's ship that brought him to Earth. We talk of Superman lore, and everything is a little fuzzy as we see the last moments of Krypton.

Lois sees through all of his persuading comments and knows that police reports are coming in making it look like the League has something to do with the murders. She gets that he's trying to make himself seem more human and less like the God he wants/is on this planet. He reveals his past a little more, the acting is a bit stiff during this scene, though the voice acting is top notch. Superman says Lois is a b-(unkind), totally is, though she's a badass b-(unkind person)!

Amanda Walker is President, well talking of Badass b-(unkind people) and top dogs.

Wonder Woman is using a Boomtube, so sexy!
(Now we have the Queen of the Badasses, there's no monarch higher)

Wonder Woman offerers her body in a gamble of strength with Trevor, seems it's a sore spot to talk about her ownership and it seems someone owned her, she might be a fury or was a fury. She gets the info about what she's been looking for, though we take a small trip to the past.

We are on Apokolips and the trade of the children, it's a peace treaty that's made between New Genesis and Apokolips to stop their war, though this seems a little different. Orion is the son of Darksied and Bekka is the daughter of the New God's. It's an interesting story of a princess of sorts being wed off to create peace among two waring worlds. Orion is sweet and shows his real face, not the one that his Mother Box hides for him, like a mask. They pull an Aladdin and Orion shows her the world that she'll be ruling with him. It's a beautiful ride through this horrible world, then a beautiful land of crystals and a place where Orion comes to think. They talk about the future and Orion gives her a sword. Which has a Mother Box in the Sword!! Granny Goodness marries the couple and the worlds are united as one, the Shakespearean life has just begun.

The New Gods have double crossed the Apokolips people and killed all of them except for Orion, they are all killed one by one, though she tries to saves her new husband, but was too late with the sword that he gave her, he dies in her arms, then takes vengeance by living as the one who betrayed the Highfather.

Lois gives attention to the framed murders on TV, the news reports with intent to damn these Gods before they can keep their reputation reputable. The scientists on the list are all joined in a single room, totally smart and no one is gonna die, totally. Sivana! Captain Marvel's greatest foe is in a film that doesn't make him look like a lunatic, though he is the greatest Silver Age villain. This is his first appearance in a film that isn't him laughing madly into the air trying to kill the Big Red Cheese. Batman fights the robot batman in the court yard, though the other two robots appear and kill all of the scientists one by one, without care or cause. It's really horrifying, it's just so inhuman, it's perfectly horrible. Tin gives his life for Tina and Will, Batman tries to save them though is stopped and they are both killed, then Batman is saved by Wonder Woman, Superman is in there too late. Everyone is dead, no one lives from all of this, though somehow Will seems to be living, just by strings.

It seem it was Boomtubes and the government has made a crude version of Boomtubes. Superman isn't gonna like the person that they need help from. It's Luther, yep it's totally Lex, moving one, Lex lives in a satellite by the Moon. Seems he's taken the place in the Solar System as a watching force in our space. The design of the station is amazing, then Lex talks about philosophy. Lex seems to be stuck in a chair, talking about Superman being a dark God, a man beyond the human life, also all of his hair is gone, he seems to be dying. Lex used the data from Superman's ship to look upon the stars. Superman's past is then revealed to him by Lex, step by step and what really happened that day when he was sent into space. Remember the fuzzing past that Superman was talking about, well Lex fixed it and it's Zod. He needs to drill into the core of the planet and that's what killed all of the Kryptonian people.

Project Fairplay is an attack that can be deployed that will kill the League. This gives the government the ability to take back the world from these men and woman that have taken everything by force. Lex is killed by the Superman Robot, the government has started an all out war against the League, centering that focus on the Tower. The City has been evacuated and the army is getting ready to attack the League directly, Lois is set up to record everything. One of the bodies is missing from the morgue, all of the scientists are dead and one is moving around. As the building behind them is sealed and protected, Superman and Wonder Woman go to "greet" the army at gun point. Tina seems to be the body that has moved, she wasn't dead or was dead from the start, meaning that Tina is closer to her comic counterpart, a robot or at the least a cyborg. She's alive and well and walking toward Batman, this Gynoids shocks Kirk. Tina shows her true self and turns into a full metal woman.

Superman takes a direct shot, the blast is enough to harm him, a lot, its power is only seen from the blood that leaks out of his body.

Organic nanites bring Will back to life. It seems Will killed Tina because she loved Kirk, though made a robotic Tina and Will is the man that made the robots to kill and destroy the League. Her head struct a table and bleed out, Will snapped at the sight of her death and made a twin of Tina, though like any crazed villain he wants to change the world, make a hive mind and be their ruler, the nanite bomb. He needed the energy of the tower to be able to use the bomb, though if you notice the robots are blue, brown, and red, meaning Mercury, Iron, and Copper (or it could be Gold), though Steel and Gold are missing, since Tin and Tina are already there.

Superman is tossing around the government's army like it's nothing, the lasers are concentrated Red Sun, so it effects him some how. I guess we're going pure Man of Steel since this would take time, but at the same time, it makes sense, since it is a solar weapon (but he's not a PokéMon).

They stopped a Mother Box! They can't stop a Mother Box!! That's not possible, you can't stop this tech since it's well beyond their comprehension!!! It's not a toy, not something that can be effected by magnetic rays, are you insane, is this future-like world that advanced?

Superman and Wonder Woman stand to take the cannon's blast, the death they know has been coming since they saw the first reports of killings by the robots. Then Lex farts out of nowhere and says he teleported before the robot could kill him. Lex reveals that it's Will that's been doing all of this, and Superman starts to attack the building as does the military. Superman acts like his name sake and does his best to take the building down, it's a gorgeous scene of a man that wants his life to reflect the man that he wants to be, a force of good and a protecting beacon of light.

Steel has formed, it seems that these robots don't become combined metal man (called Alloy), though the color is grey meaning that this could be steel then (or iron). The combined metal-nanite-being fights Superman, taking their battle out of the tower and into the subway about 4 miles away. Battle damaged and stressed Superman takes on the new robot formation. Mouth lasers, if there's one thing I've learned from Akira Toriyama, it's a robot has a mouth laser, then you are toast. The feral bot attacks the man of steel with the punching speed of the Flash, as did the Batman within the first 20 minutes of the film. Again the animation is a spectacle of joy and love for the characters and the art form. Superman is punched into the air and the robot seems to have full control of it's Boomtube, teleporting and attacking Superman without a second and inches from him.

Batman on the other hand starts to stop Will, but it stopped by Tina, who is stopped by Wonder Woman, then it's revealed that Will is stronger than he appears. This may be an homage to his short lived life as a Metal Man, though it could be a reveal of him being another metal than the one that was his in the comic.

Superman is still fighting the robot, though sees their "mother boxes" and punches it so hard that it sinks into the Earth, all the way to a magma deposit. Where he proceeds to punch/drown said robot into the magma, since it's not above ground which would be lava.

Tina and Bekka (Wonder Woman is too long to write, also it's never been stated that's her name, we've only heard her be refereed to as Bekka) continue to fight. The Strongest sword ever seems to be an even match to platinum… interesting that an alien metal has an equal on our planet. The fight is amazing also the metal seems to be stronger, it's the being that seems to be adapting to the strength of the weapon, and has been taking a licking, though keeps on keeping on, which is also seen in the fight with Will. Will seems to be a petty man, and never realized that Kirk loved not only Tina, but also Will. It's interesting to see a character that wants a poly relationship.

Tina is killed by the Boomtube that sends her to the Sun, I guess Bekka wanted to see her skill beat her enemy not her technology. Will is beaten to hell and still pushes Kirk, the core is about to blow, though the bomb is stopped by Bekka with her badass sword, then Superman comes in and hurls the thing into space. Will kills himself with a device, asks for Kirks forgiveness. Lois thanks the team for their job in saving the world, the league tries to turn over a new leaf, trying to make the world a better place. Bekka teams up with Lex and wants to take back Apokolips. Lex gives the files to Superman and wishes him the best and wants him to not follow in the steps of his bio-father, but in the man that he's become on Earth. Batman and Superman are left on the planet, they make a last joke and look toward the future as Bekka takes her past on full force and the film ends on a high note, though it ends on a grey note, nothing better, though nothing worse.

The characters have improved as people, though the world has yet to become better except for one less grey area of evil. If you were to watch this film hoping for something known, character's you grew up with in a new take, then you're going to be disappointed. These are their own characters, though this shows that one can have a character and still hold the spirit, that a film maker can create an homage to something that all individuals can enjoy. In short it's a character study, a look into an alternate telling of the characters that we all know backwards and forwards, the beings that make us happy to be strong in tough times, the people that inspire us to be better, and care for the people around us even if we know nothing about them. This is an alternate world, but a beautiful idea of a lore that too many biblically quote. Such an amazing film and a wonderfully beautiful story.

Also I'm not a fan of origin stories, there were three in this film, but it didn't take too much away from the movie since it added to the plot and corrected things that needed to be revealed before the ending of the flick. This is how one creates foreshadowing, this is how one makes a backstory connect into a plot without it being a whole different movie while in one film. You are an amazing creative team, thank you all for making this incredible film. It's been the first time in a long time that I haven't wanted to break out the nostalgic engine and my evocative goggles, it's a Justice League movie done gritty, the right way.

[if you're looking for more adventures from the Trinity then check out Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, a short per character that spotlights each hero in their own solo adventure, bringing more mythology and history to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman respectively, each written by Bruce Timm and the creative team of this feature.]
Then there's the first short review of Twisted over here --->
Then there's the second short review of Big over here --->

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the comic books and watch the movie.
If you want to stay up to date on my reviews, subscribe to this page.
Keep well and Stay well.

No comments: