Some Thoughts on Justice League and Dawn of Justice


Spoilers for Justice League are in this post! Don’t read if you haven’t seen the film yet.

With the recent release of Justice League, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about Justice League and Batman vs Superman and how they can’t be dismissed lightly because of how layered the films and the overall story are:

First of all, we can’t take the plot of these films too lightly. If you think Justice League is about the Justice League defeating the alien threat of Steppenwolf and his parademons, then you should go rewatch the film again (I say rewatch it anyways, cause it’s such a great film), as this is the secondary plot of the movie. The primary plot of Justice League is really about the formation of the team and the individual team members having to learn how to come together and unite to form an unbeatable force (it’s all right in front of us in the marketing of the film). They all have a personal journey to make, and they have to overcome their fears and doubts before they can begin to trust each other and work together. This is illustrated to us very well in the beginnings of the film as Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince contact the different metahumans, Barry Allen, Arthur Curry, and Victor Stone. The names of these three and others were given to Bruce by Amanda Waller as shown to us in the Oscar winning film – Suicide Squad, which occurred in between Dawn of Justice and Justice League.

We are also shown how invincible Steppenwolf is as he is able to easily overcome the individual forces, the Amazonians, the Atlanteans, and Man to obtain the Motherboxes. It isn’t until the League is able to unite and work together that they are able to defeat him, and even then they need some “super” help (sorry, couldn’t help myself. lol). We see how, without Superman, Earth is doomed and the inhabitants of Earth would be unable to defeat Steppenwolf. The League has to learn how to work together to bring Superman back and they all played a part in bringing him back with the help of one of the Motherboxes. It isn’t until Superman is fully back and unites with the League that Steppenwolf can be defeated and sent packing.

Some have thought that Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice only showed us 15 mins (or whatever it ended up being) of Superman and Batman actually fighting, if so – then you need to rewatch the film. Batman versus Superman starts in the Prologue of the film when Batman witnesses firsthand the destruction of Metropolis and he sees Superman and Zod destroying Metropolis and he decides Superman is dangerous and he then starts his quest to destroy Superman. The whole movie is Batman/Bruce Wayne’s machinations to destroy Superman.

Having Lex Luthor behind the scenes pulling the strings to drag Batman further down into the darkness is icing on the cake for this film. While Batman is distracted by figuring out a way to defeat Superman, the real villain, who is Lex, ultimately unleashes a devil to destroy a god, in which he eventually succeeds. Lex is aware that in defeating Superman he can bring in true chaos to the world by way of the Motherboxes. The effects of Lex’s plan is dealt with in Justice League, which in turn makes that last end credit scene in Justice League more meaningful and it isn’t just eye candy.

Lex would’ve triumphed except for he forgot the one thing that trumps everything and can’t be quantified- Love. Especially the love a son has for his mother, and how some men would do anything to protect their mother. He was counting on Clark Kent’s love for his mother to manipulate him into defeating Batman, but he overlooked Bruce’s love for his long dead mother. Maybe he thought Bruce was too far down the dark path and couldn’t be redeemed because of the crimes he had committed. Bruce Wayne became Batman because of the love he had for his mother and father. But he had lost sight of this over the past couple of years due to the darkness of Gotham. He was becoming the type of person he had initially set out to protect people from. Clark’s love for his mother broke through this darkness and reminded Bruce of why he became Batman in the first place. He became Batman to protect the Martha and Thomas Wayne’s of the world.

With Clark Kent speaking the name of “Martha” and to “save Martha” this snapped Bruce back to what he was all about in the first place and he also realized the being in front of him was more like him than he realized. He saw a chance to do what his pre-teen self couldn’t do – “save Martha”.  He saw that Clark cared just as much for his mother and that his last dying breath was for someone to save his mother regardless of what happened to him. This is why he was willing to spare Superman and go save Martha Kent while Clark went to deal with Lex. Thus the beginning of the Justice League and you can say the Dawn of Justice.

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Justice League Spoiler Free Review

There has been a lot of controversy about the DC Cinematic Universe over the past couple of years. Critics love to bash the movies, while a lot of fans enjoy the movies and defend them almost to a fault. The recent release of Wonder Woman in June 2017 was a breath of fresh air for both critics and fans alike and they were able to come to an consensus that Wonder Woman was a great movie. Naturally, after a couple of months the attention shifted to the release of Justice League. The big question was if Justice League would follow in Wonder Woman’s footsteps, or go the way of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (however, full disclosure: I loved Dawn of Justice).

I’m here to tell you, Justice League is more Wonder Woman than Dawn of Justice. Justice League addresses all the complaints that critics had about previous DC movies and “fixes” them, plus a lot more!

Justice League starts out with the world mourning the death of Superman and it’s revealed that there is a looming threat (the one that Lex Luthor warned Batman about of at the end of Dawn of Justice) that is quickly coming. Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince have to assemble a team to fight this upcoming threat – so they begin to form the Justice League.

Bruce Wayne/Batman has softened a bit since Dawn of Justice and carries with him the guilt over the death of Superman. He is more hopeful than he has been recently and is trying to right his wrong by preparing to defend Earth from the oncoming threat. He is more relatable to the audience than he was in the last movie. Ben Affleck is great as The Batman and I hope he sticks with the character and decides to be in the upcoming Batman trilogy.

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman is so fun to watch and she continues to be a breath of fresh air for DC and for the superhero movie genre as a whole. She has her own angst to work through and has to decide if she wants to be a leader of superhero’s or not. The scene in the Batcave hangar between her and Bruce Wayne with the rest of the team watching, is one of the most emotional scene and is a pivotal moment in the movie. (the other emotional moment, and the best non action scene being ******. Ooops – I can’t say because it involves a major spoiler scene, and it is sooo good! But you’ll know it when you see it. I teared up at that moment.)

The introduction of Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Barry Allen/The Flash, and Victor Stone/Cyborg to the DC Cinematic Universe is so fun to watch! They each bring a new dynamic to the movie. They each have their own unique abilities and these abilities and personalities are fun to watch as they learn how to interact and trust one another as they are thrown together to save Earth.

Victor Stone is a great addition to the Justice League and is one of the lesser known and newer members of the Justice League. He earns his place on this team and I can’t wait for his story to be expanded upon in the future.

Barry Allen is engaging and brings the wide eyed, new kid on the block feel to the franchise. He has some great moments in the film and is a vital part to the Team.

Arthur Curry brings the coolness to this movie and is great to watch on screen (in more ways than one – right ladies?) as well. My only complaint is that the movie seemed too short and wished they could’ve fleshed out Aquaman’s story a little more, but with the next DC movie release being Aquaman, I’m sure they decided to do it in the upcoming movie.

The villain, Steppenwolf, is an ancient enemy of Earth and in the movie it is explained how long ago he attempted to invade Earth but was repelled by the Amazonians (Wonder Woman’s people), the Atlanteans (Aquaman’s people), and the tribes of man. With the death of Superman, Steppenwolf receives word of this (again, something shown in Dawn of Justice) and knows that he is in the clear to try and invade Earth once more.

The movie focuses on the formation of the Justice League and the invasion of Steppenwolf and his forces. There is a lot of action as you would expect from a superhero movie. There are some emotional moments in the film that humanize our heroes and make them more relatable and enjoyable to watch. There is humor as well, thankfully not as obnoxious or over the top as the Marvel movies (most annoyingly Thor 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2).

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie and I enjoyed it from start to finish. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be amazed at the action you see on the screen as our childhood icons team up on-screen for the first time to fight evil.

I give it an A-, 9 out of 10, 4.5 out of 5.

*There are two after credit scenes worth staying for – one humorous one a couple minutes into the credits, and a very cool one at the end. They’re not like the Marvel after credit scenes where they’re silly and don’t really have a point.

Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer Release Party

Exclusive video from Random Angst recorded while at Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer release party on Nov 13, 2017.
Brandon Sanderson talks about nostalgia, change and progression and how it relates to the Stormlight Archives and Oathbringer.
Also, there is a Q&A session where Brandon answer’s fan questions or RAFO’s them.

 

Skyward reading from Brandon Sanderson

The following is an exclusive audio only clip from the release party of Oathbringer, Book Three of the Stormlight Archive. Read by Brandon Sanderson (the author) himself, this is a very rough draft of the Prologue from an upcoming book titled ‘Skyward’.
He has asked that if you haven’t heard this and plan on going to a release party that you not listen until you can hear it live from him as he reads it.

Yes! More Star Wars!

In a Disney shareholders call, Bob Iger, announced that Rian Johnson will direct a whole new Star Wars trilogy, and that a new Live Action Star Wars television show is to be produced to be streamed online by Disney in 2019.

For director Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just the beginning of his journey in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce. 

As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.

“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi,” Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. “Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.” 

Johnson’s upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in U.S. theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.

No release dates have been set for the new films, and no porgs were available for comment.

Hopefully more info on this new trilogy will be released soon!
Variety.com is also reporting a live action TV show to be produced as well and will be released in 2019.

Disney has just closed a deal with director Rian Johnson to develop a new “Star Wars” trilogy, and it is planning a live-action “Star Wars” TV series to air on its entertainment streaming service that is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger announced the “Star Wars” news during the company’s quarterly earnings call. In addition to the “Star Wars” TV series, Disney is working on TV adaptations of Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.,” the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” franchise and an original series from Marvel.

Johnson helmed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is due out next month. He’s set to write and direct another trio of “Star Wars” theatrical pics with his longtime collaborator Ram Bergman.

“We all loved working with Rian on ‘The Last Jedi,’” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft ‘The Last Jedi’ from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

 

Thor: Ragnarok Review

I have been a Thor movie fan since the first Thor film, I wasn’t one who bashed Thor and how it was a weak entry in the MCU as many others did. I enjoyed the first movie and thought it had the right mix of action, love story, humor, and comic book elements to make it an enjoyable movie. Thor tied in well with the existing MCU at the time and helped with the expansion of the SHIELD storyline which was important in the beginning of the MCU.

I also enjoyed Thor: The Dark World and again, it actually has some implications that moved the whole overarching MCU storyline forward with the introduction of the aether as another Infinity Stone. The cast from the first movie was back together with some new additions and it had a good mix or humor, love, and action.

So bring on Thor 3 – Thor: Ragnarok! Right?!

THOR: RAGNAROK SPOILERS BELOW:

Well, despite the early 98% Rotten Tomatoes score (currently sitting at a 93% critic review and 90% audience reviews) and gushing reviews of “the best comedy movie from Marvel“, “Might leave you ‘Thor’ from laughter“, “The best, silly superhero yet – it is thunderful!“, “Thor is basically a blast!“, blah, blah, blah; I didn’t find Ragnarok as enjoyable as the first two Thor movies. Overall, I enjoyed Ragnarok and felt it had some great moments and introduced some great new characters – Kurg (voiced by the director, Taika Waititi) and Valkyrie, as well as the inclusion of Doctor Strange (however, that was more eye candy than anything), the addition of these great new characters was refreshing to the overall Thor storyline. The new director, Taika Waititi, also brought a new vision to the MCU that is appreciated by Random Angst.

I wasn’t very impressed with the action in Ragnarok, as outside of the Thor/Hulk gladiator sequence, all other action sequences were unimaginative and unmemorable. While the introduction of the long lost sister Hela is a great idea, I felt that she was underused and in the end she has gone the way of most other MCU villians (dead after one movie and therefore, not very powerful – or interesting). The most used and interesting MCU villian (at least up until this movie), Loki, also made an appearance in Ragnarok. However, at what point do we stop calling Loki a villian? Loki is always defeated, Thor (and the audience) knows his tricks well enough to the point that he isn’t a threat, and Thor won’t kill him (even though Loki has threatened and destroyed just as many beings as Malekith the Dark Elf, and Hela, who have both been killed off), and he has become less intimidating with each movie he has appeared in.

It’s interesting that with as many villians as Ragnarok has, I never felt that Thor was in jeopardy. Throughout the film, we are introduced to Surtur, Hela, Grandmaster, Hulk, and Loki all of whom tried to thwart, kill, or destroy Thor during the story. With this many characters trying to take out Thor, one would think that there would be large amounts of tension and conflict. For me, I didn’t get that because of the comedic beats and jokes that were prevalent throughout the movie and I think that this is a big part of the problem that I believe this film has. Again, as with the rest of the MCU, the fate of the world, universe, and our heroes lives are at stake but you wouldn’t know it as everyone is too busy cracking jokes and therefore alleviating any angst or sense of danger that would arise with our heroes being put into these dangerous situations. With a title of Ragnarok, which is the Asgardian apocalypse, I never felt a sense of urgency or that the fate of the world was at stake due to an impending doom. Which is ironic, because as we see at the end of the film Asgard as a world, nation, and people is what’s at stake and in danger of being destroyed. However, the being that allows Asgard to eventually be destroyed isn’t one of these villians – it’s Thor, the protector of Asgard, himself.

While there were a lot of average things about Thor: Ragnarok, something I enjoyed a lot was how this movie has expanded the Thor part of the MCU. I feel that in expanding the character lineup and spending time on other world’s besides Earth or Asgard, that the Thor movies and the MCU as a whole are better off.  Outside of that though, there were a lot of average things about Ragnarok that dragged down the film as a whole. The most common element from the critic reviews was that it was hilarious, lots of laughs, and the funniest MCU movie yet. For me, this movie was average at best – average action, average humor, and an average storyline. I give it a C, a 7 out of 10, or a 3.5 out of 5 – take your pick.

*One thing this movie needed more of? Natalie Portman. It’s interesting how this is the least interesting Thor movie, and it’s the only movie without Jane Foster.

Random Angst Podcast Episode 10 – Stranger Things 2049

After a short hiatus, we’re back with a longer episode to make up for lost time!
We discuss Blade Runner 2049 and is it a flop or success? How does it tie into the original Blade Runner from 30 years ago and is it worth seeing the original first?
We talk about the latest trailer for The Black Panther and how awesome it looks!
We dive deep into Stranger Things 2 and talk about our first impressions of this second season. Is Season 2 better than Season 1? Who is Eight? We talk Dart, Demigorgons, and Demidogs and how MadMax is perhaps the best new character of the new season.

*while recording this podcast episode we erroneously referred to Number 8 as Roman, when in actuality her name is Kali played by Linnea Berthelsen.

 

First Tracks from Danny Elfman’s Justice League Soundtrack!

Watertower Music has released the first tracks from the Justice League Motion Picture Soundtrack by Danny Elfman. The first track is titled “Hero’s Theme” and the second is “Friends and Foes”. While Hero’s Theme is a new composition, Friends and Foes does contain hints from John Williams iconic Main Theme from 1978’s Superman The Movie. Random Angst is hoping that Danny Elfman also includes themes from previous DC movies and is able to weave them into his original compositions. I think that having this musical continuity is key to tying in previous films and stories recently released by WB and DC. Rupert Gregson-Williams was able to do it with the Wonder Woman soundtrack in a satisfying way, so he was able to show that it can be done and be done well.

Stay tuned for more releases and the entire soundtrack can be pre-ordered now and will be available on November 10th, 2017 (per iTunes).

 

Watertower Music has also released the titles for the 2-Disc soundtrack.

Disc 1
01. Everybody Knows – Sigrid
02. The Justice League Theme – Logos
03. Hero’s Theme
04. Batman on the Roof
05. Enter Cyborg
06. Wonder Woman Rescue
07. Hippolyta’s Arrow
08. The Story of Steppenwolf
09. The Amazon Mother Box
10. Cyborg Meets Diana
11. Aquaman in Atlantis
12. Then There Were Three
13. The Tunnel Fight
14. The World Needs Superman
15. Spark of The Flash
16. Friends and Foes
17. Justice League United
18. Home
19. Bruce and Diana
20. The Final Battle
21. A New Hope
22. Anti-Hero’s Theme
23. Come Together – Gary Clark Jr. and Junkie XL
24. Icky Thump – The White Stripes

Disc 2
01. The Tunnel Fight (Full Length Bonus Track)
02. The Final Battle (Full Length Bonus Track)
03. Mother Russia (Bonus Track)

You can currently stream or buy these two songs on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and other digital music services.

 

UPDATE: As of today, Oct 30, 2017, Friends and Foes is no longer available to stream or buy (at least via iTunes).  My speculation is that it will be released as a single sometime over the couple of weeks prior to the film release in the theaters. Then it will be available once the album is fully released on November 10, 2017.

 

Early Reviews for Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok seems to have fallen into the typical, all too familiar, and now predictable, Marvel trope of telling non-stop jokes to sell movie tickets. Apparently just like every other Earth-ending, Universe-ending, event that we’ve seen in Marvel movies – the Apocalypse (Ragnarok) is just as hilarious! 
Here’s an excerpt from EW.com review by Chris Nashawaty, where he gives this movie a B, while simultaneously shredding it.
“There’s a lot more to the bloated story, but honestly, none of it is very interesting. In fact, it’s endless. You don’t care what’s happening or what’s going to happen next. We’re just led from place to place for a hash of foggy reasons that no one will ever remember 10 minutes after leaving the theater. But that’s not really the point of this movie. Ragnarok is basically a Joke Delivery System — and on that score, it works.”
“Back in the day, audiences had to wait a few weeks for Mad magazine to skewer the latest self-important Hollywood blockbuster. These days, Marvel sequels arrive as parodies of the earnest, self-respecting entries that launched each character (cf. “Iron Man 2’s” undoing of all that “Iron Man” established). If only that were an indication of the genre’s own impending Ragnarok — a sign that the entire phenomenon is about to implode, only to be reborn as something more worthy of the audience’s time and intelligence.”
   Ouch!
Rotten Tomatoes has it at a score of 98% from the hand chosen critics who’ve seen the movie up to this point in time.
Random Angst will post our review soon after seeing the movie when it is released.

And the Title for the Previously #UntitledHanSoloMovie Is….

After months of speculation and posts from the new director, Ron Howard, that had only called the movie #untitledHanSolomovie, we finally have a title! And the title is….

 

 

lol

 

Check out StarWars.com for more info.

 

Check out the twitter announcement from Ron Howard himself: