REVIEW: Justice League

Image: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

Reviewing a superhero movie basically just comes down to comparisons. “Captain America: Civil War is brilliant, but not quite as brilliant as The Winter Soldier.” “Spider-Man: Homecoming was good, but it was no Spider-Man 2.” “How awesome is it that Logan was even better than X-Men: Days of Future Past?”

It’s quite helpful in Justice League‘s case, as there are so many comparisons to be made. And perplexingly, DC’s supergroup movie doesn’t just invite them but encourages them as the movie goes along, blatantly and immodestly stealing from any successful superhero movie it can think of in a vain effort to win the critical and fan love that has seemed to come so naturally to the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man series but been unattainable for DC since the Dark Knight era.

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REVIEW: Wonder Woman

Image: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

Comic book origin movies almost invariably get outdone by their first sequels, because the first movie has to spend most of its time as setup while the second gets to hit the ground running.

What’s more, the extensive exposition and mythology when it comes to superheroes make it difficult for even the best superhero origin stories to be truly great movies.

Of course, none of them have been Wonder Woman.

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CORE STORY: Joe Manganiello to play Deathstroke in next Batman movie

Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/Associated Press

Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/Associated Press

Chris Luckett

Last week, Ben Affleck caused online freak-outs of comic fan excitement when he revealed footage of famed DC villain Deathstroke in Affleck’s upcoming Batman picture.

The Wall Street Journal has now revealed Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday) is the face behind the mask and will play the superhuman assassin.

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REVIEW: Suicide Squad

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

(Note: The overall plot of Suicide Squad is not spoiled here. When I discuss the story’s setup, it may sound like I’m giving away a lot, but that’s just because the entire movie has so much going on, even just sticking to the first act reads like I’m spoiling the entire plot. You can trust in me: I’m not.)

Warner Bros. continues their emulation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (while refusing to admit that’s what they’re doing) with Suicide Squad. It’s likely the last blockbuster of the summer — as well as the studio’s desperate hope of cleansing the palettes of audiences that felt burned by March’s pedestrian Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

What should have been a carefree offshoot of the main DC Extended Universe saga now comes with the added expectations of redeeming the franchise, an unfair burden the movie understandably can’t really handle. As a late summer piece of brainless entertainment, you could do a lot worse. As a superhero movie — even just compared to other 2016 fare, for that matter — you could do a lot better.

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REVIEW: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

Ever since Marvel Studios gave its serious mission statement for a connected universe with Iron Man eight years ago, DC has been playing catch-up. Admittedly, The Dark Knight remains possibly the greatest superhero movie made and The Dark Knight Rises is impressive in its own right, but garbage like The Spirit, Jonah Hex, and Green Lantern still practically ruined the comic behemoth’s name.

By the time Man of Steel arrived on the scene to launch DC’s own connected universe of characters in 2013, all of Marvel’s heroes had already assembled for the first Avengers movie, making the character who’s faster than a speeding bullet feel very late to the scene indeed.

With plans already laid out for eleven more movies over the next five years, DC is making up for lost time with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a sequel to Man of Steel. And a Batman movie in its own right. And an introduction to future Justice Leaguers like Wonder Woman and Aquaman. And a reflective indictment of superheroic violence. As well as a mindless endorsement of superheroic violence. Plus, Kevin Costner. Continue reading