Episode 12 Avengers vs Justice League

Random Angst Podcast Episode 12 is up for your listening enjoyment!! Check out the new episode and let us know what you think!
Join us for Episode 12 as we talk about Salt Lake Comic Con vs San Diego Comic Con and who owns the words Comic Con? We also talk about the upcoming Marvel movie, Avengers Infinity War and who has the last Infinity Stone? We also rehash Justice League and how WB dropped the ball on this movie. Marc and I talk Star Wars Episode 8 The Last Jedi and what our predictions for this movie are, a few days before we actually see the movie. #StarWars #JusticeLeague#SaltLakeComicCon #Avengers

Check out Episode 12 on iTunes, Soundcloud, or on this website!

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Random Angst Podcast Episode 11 – Justice League, The Punisher, and Oathbringer

Our latest podcast, Episode 11, is now live! Check it out on your way to work or while you work – and let us know what you think! We talk about the new Justice League movie and what we thought of it – our likes and dislikes (Spoilers are present).
We talk about Brandon Sanderson’s latest novel – Oathbringer! We are still reading, so it’s a spoiler free review as we discuss our initial thoughts on the story so far.
We also discuss the newest Marvel Netflix series, The Punisher, and how that is capturing our interest despite the negative reviews.
We also go way back to 1984 and talk The Terminator and how with the rumblings of a new Terminator movie, how the franchise is doing and do we really need a new movie?
So give us a listen and let Random Angst know what you think! 

Check out Episode 11 on iTunes, Soundcloud, or on this website!

 

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.

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.

Wonder Woman

 

“What I do is not up to you.” – Diana Prince

We start the show in aftermath of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice as we see Diana Prince in a museum, the Louve in Paris, receiving a briefcase from Bruce Wayne. In the briefcase is a note and an original black and white photograph. The photograph is the one seen in BvS:DOJ with Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, and the others in a group photo from World War I.  As Diana is looking at the photo, we are taken back in time to when Diana was a little girl.

Wonder Woman takes us on an epic journey as we are introduced to Diana of Themyscira and experience her origin story. We watch with wonder as she grows up as a warrior princess and is first introduced to man. We empathize with her desire to do good in the world and help those who are less fortunate. We laugh at her naivete as she is introduced to the world and the humans outside of Paradise Island. We marvel at her strength as she tackles World War I head on and immediately makes a difference. We fall in love with her as she experiences love for Steve Trevor, and then loses him just as quickly. We cheer as she fights evil and defeats the God of War as she comes into her full strength before our very eyes.

Wonder Woman is easily the best movie of the summer, and of the year up to this point. Her strength, beauty, and charm put this movie head and shoulders above any superhero or comic book movie that has been released. Wonder Woman was the most intriguing part of Batman vs. Superman, and Diana Prince was fully established as a superhero in this movie. It has been a long time coming, and I’m glad she is finally in the forefront in the DC Cinematic Universe.

Go see this movie, go buy this movie, you will enjoy it!

The Dark Tower (2017)

 

“The Man in Black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.”

One of the most iconic sentences written by Stephen King, and there are plenty, is included in the cinematic release of The Dark Tower. The movie has plenty of great visuals that tie into the written saga of the The Dark Tower and are exciting to see represented on film. There are a lot of story elements taken from the novels and comic books, characters, places, titles, and locations; but this is a different story than we have seen, or read, before.

This is what I would attribute the negative reactions towards the film to. The film tries to play the middle ground, put enough in the story for fans to recognize but also cater to the mainstream audience and play it safe with the story. This is a dangerous idea that rarely pays off. If you are going to commit to a movie as intricate and beloved as The Dark Tower, you’d better commit to appeasing the hard core fans. If you don’t have them in your, you have nothing. Imagine if while creating the Game of Thrones HBO series, the producers hadn’t followed the source material and had tried to play it safe, thinking the audience wouldn’t want to see dragons and sorcery? That series would have died quickly, it is seeing the source material on screen that people fell in love with. The Dark Tower should have followed suit.

I enjoyed The Dark Tower movie and I think that it has potential to open up a whole new universe of stories that people have been enjoying for decades now. I hope that the idea of having TV shows and sequel movies to continue this story is able to come to fruition as time goes on.  But, I did feel short changed as I left the theater, knowing that the source material is so rich and has so much to draw on.  However, I am willing to see where this goes and give The Dark Tower another chance.

I would give this movie a B as I enjoyed the visuals and the opportunity to see these characters on screen for the first time.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 1 – Prologue

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“There was a time above. A time before. There were perfect things. Diamond absolutes. But things fall, things on earth. And what falls, is fallen. In the dream, they took me to the light. A beautiful lie.”

As Batman vs. Superman starts we are shown a prologue that plays an important role in  the story and has major repercussions for the rest of the movie. I haven’t seen too many prologues that have such an influence on the rest of a film as this one does. In this prologue we are shown the death of the Bruce’s parents at the hands of Joe Chill, we see Bruce’s discovery of the caves near his home, and we see the final battle of Kal-El and Zod in Man of Steel but from Bruce Wayne’s perspective. This is a lot of ground to cover in the short 10 minutes that is devoted to these scenes.

The prologue starts with the Death of Thomas and Martha Wayne while the haunting score of Hans Zimmer’s ‘Beautiful Lie’ plays during this scene. We also hear the above quoted dialogue from an older Bruce Wayne during this scene.

In regards to the death of the Wayne’s, this is a scene that has been shown many times on the big and small screen. I myself have seen it four times in various formats prior to this movie. However, I believe this one is the most impactful of the ones that have previously been shown. This scene focuses solely on the mugging and murder of the Wayne’s. Only one word is spoken in this scene, “Martha”. This scene focuses more on the loss of Martha Wayne and how a little boy had to watch his mother die. While Batman Begins had focused on the relationship between Bruce and his father, Thomas, this movie is more about the loss of Martha. This scene is juxtaposed with the funeral of the Wayne’s and in this film, Bruce discovers the cave full of bats near his home during this time. As Bruce discovers the cave of bats they end up carrying him up to the light and out of the cave as the older Bruce says “In the dream, they took me to the light. A beautiful lie.”  These two short scenes are the essence of Batman and are the impetus of how he comes to be. Bruce Wayne becomes Batman because his parents are killed and he desires to right this wrong for the rest of his life.

From there we jump ahead in time to the events that we see at the end of Man of Steel (2013). Bruce Wayne arrives in Metropolis via helicopter from Gotham and witnesses first hand the final battle between Zod and Kal-El while driving on the streets of Metropolis. Bruce has an office building full of friends in Metropolis that he is trying to reach as Metropolis falls apart around him due to the World Builder wreaking havoc in the city. As Bruce reaches his office building, he is too late as he witnesses Zod destroy the building with his laser vision. Bruce can only watch in horror as his building collapses killing his friends and coworkers. Bruce then makes his way to the building to try and find survivors. He helps a security guard, Wally, who is trapped in rubble. He also is able to save a young girl from being killed as debris collapses almost killing her. As Kal-El and Zod continue to fight in the sky above Metropolis, Bruce watches with hatred towards these two aliens who are destroying a city and killing innocents.

This is the moment that Batman starts planning to stop Superman. This is the moment when Batman vs. Superman starts. A common complaint of this movie is that there were only a small amount of actual fighting between Batman and Superman. When in reality, Batman vs. Superman starts 9:50 into the movie.

bvsdoj-bruce-wayne

Zack Snyder does an excellent job of tying in Man of Steel to this movie and propelling the overall story forward. Including this prologue scene setting up Bruce Wayne’s hatred of Kal-El and what he did to Metropolis was a smart move in more ways than one. Not only does it move the story forward, Snyder validates one of the biggest complaints from Man of Steel. This complaint is about the wanton destruction of Metropolis during the final battle and the major loss of life. Snyder doesn’t attempt to excuse or explain why it happened, but instead infuses those complaints into Bruce Wayne and his motivations for Dawn of Justice.

Before this horrific moment, the public and even Bruce Wayne did not know of Kal-El and his existence on Earth. Then all of a sudden in a matter of days, the world changes and these aliens are destroying cities and people are dying as a result of their feud. Dawn of Justice deals directly with this fear, from Bruce Wayne and others being scared of what Kal-El can do, to the media having a heyday with biased reporting and trying to pit half of the population against the other half. In real life we can’t even have a presidential election without arguing and protests, with the media fueling hatred for the two parties to go against each other. Imagine if an event such as what happened in Man of Steel actually happened and how the media would cover it and try to influence the population. I imagine it would happen pretty close to what is portrayed in this film, half of the population would hate Superman, the other half would love him and the media would do all it could to demonize the other half it doesn’t agree with. I believe this to be a genius move by Snyder and the story writers. This isn’t your father’s 1978 Superman feel good story, and nor should it be. A lot has changed in 35 years and a modern retelling of Superman should reflect that.

 

 

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

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“Black and blue. Fight night. The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: God versus man; day versus night; Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!”– Lex Luthor

Batman versus Superman. When this title was announced at San Diego Comic Con in 2014, it blew my mind! I was eagerly awaiting the announcement of a Man of Steel 2 movie, but this! This, my fellow nerds, was paramount to the Second Coming! Then to top it all off – Wonder Woman was announced to be a part of the movie too!

Batman AND Superman in the same movie?! The Man of Steel AND The Dark Knight at odds one with another?! Wonder Woman fighting alongside the two most iconic superheroes of all time?! Finally! This will be the first time The Trinity would appear on the big screen for fans to enjoy. For the first time we will see Diana Prince in action on film. The potential for greatness and movie making history was finally announced! And let me tell you, this film did not disappoint.

Wait, WHAT?! What is this you are reading? I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Am I truly reading a review of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice that isn’t disparaging the film left and right?” or “Am I understanding this correctly? This guy actually LIKED this movie?!” The answer is yes, you are.

But all joking aside; yes, I did enjoy this movie from the first viewing. I saw it multiple times in the theaters, four times in fact. I would’ve gone once or twice more had I had the time to do so. I bought the Ultimate Edition when it came out on home video and my appreciation and enjoyment of this film grew even more. The storyline and character development was fleshed out to be more fulfilling and robust with the Ultimate Edition. If this Ultimate Edition had been released in theaters, I believe it would have been better received.

I intend to break this film down into various parts from beginning to end, as well as to write a character analysis for each of the main players in the film, over the next few weeks. To discuss and analyze everything this movie event has to offer would be too long for one blog post. I will attempt to win over those that dislike, are ambivalent, and even hate this movie; as well as reinforce the greatness of this movie with those that do enjoy it. I’m looking forward to this experience as I delve deep into this film, which in my opinion could be considered the greatest movie of 2016. It’s only competition being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

But at the end of the day, if you don’t like the film – that’s fine, if you do like the film -great! Either way, life will go on and Warner Bros. will continue to produce and release films from the DC Universe for those that enjoy them.

Listed below are the topics I will address and expound upon, I will activate links to the various topics and characters as I finish writing them.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 1 – Prologue

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 2 – The Setup

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 3 – Investigations

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 4 – The Plan is Set in Motion

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pt. 5 – War

Bruce Wayne/Batman

Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman

Lex Luthor

Lois Lane

Alfred

Zod/Doomsday

Suicide Squad

 

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A black man, a white girl, a latino man, a white dude from Australia, a crocodile, an asian woman, and another white guy walk into a bar. No really, this happens in Suicide Squad, but Suicide Squad is no joke – it’s the real deal!

Suicide Squad provides us with one of the most diverse ensemble casts in a major blockbuster movie ever, interestingly enough I have yet to read any review out there that praises this. I’m sure there are one or two out there, but my point is critics have heavily criticized Hollywood for not casting more diverse actors in big budget movies for quite some time. Now that there is a major blockbuster being released with a strong and diverse cast, all we get are complaints against the movie.

Despite Suicide Squad getting such negative reviews from critics, but curiously enough normal movie goers are giving it high ratings, this movie is worth watching. No, Suicide Squad won’t change your perspective on life, you won’t walk out of the theater wanting to work at the homeless shelter, or you won’t have an epiphany and realize you’re doing everything wrong. What it will do is take you on a wild ride for two hours, as you watch the bad guys kick butt and realize that they actually need to do some good in the world they live in.

The Good, the Bat, and the Ugly

The good things that we get to see right from the start are short backstory’s on the members of the Suicide Squad and how they ended up getting caught and placed in Belle Reve. We get to know the Suicide Squad and who they are. We see the reasons for what motivates the Squad to be able to do what they do in the rest of the film. We see how the world’s best and most hardened assassin, Deadshot, just wants to be a good dad and watch his daughter grow up. We see when Harley Quinzel first meets the Joker at Arkham Asylum and how she falls under his spell. We see a tortured soul, June Moone, possessed by a witch, the Enchantress, and how the man, Rick Flagg, loves her and just wants to ease her pain.

The surprising thing about the Suicide Squad members is that they all have their reasons, emotional and meaningful reasons, for what they do. It’s a welcome relief from the trite, one dimensional (two dimensions, if we’re lucky) villains that we’ve been getting from other films (yeah, Marvel I’m referring to your films). And the great thing about this film is that they are all villains and they all have multiple facets and motivations to them!

Now to the Bat. Yes, the Batman makes his mark in this film too, and it is fun to watch him work. This hearkens back to the Dark Knight trilogy where we see Batman hunting down criminals and locking them up. We see Batman confront Deadshot in what is most likely the most emotional sequence in the film. We see Batman chase down The Joker and Harley Quinn, in what is the funnest sequence of the film to watch. We see a brief cameo of The Flash as he captures Boomerang.

Now, all of this is post Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and pre-Justice League. The film references the Death of Superman, and also shows Bruce Wayne gathering intel on MetaHumans to recruit for a project of his – the beginnings of Justice League!

Since, you can’t have Batman without The Joker, The Joker is also planning and working behind the scenes in this movie. He is the wild card in this movie and every minute he is on screen, The Joker is fun to watch. In my mind, he is to this movie as Wonder Woman was to Dawn of Justice, it just wouldn’t be as entertaining without him. The end of the film leaves it open to a Joker/Harley Quinn stand alone film, which DC and WB better explore sometime soon!

The ugly is ugly in this movie. We meet Killer Croc and boy is he ugly! He was a little hard to understand in the film and had few lines, but he could fight and he was a beast to behold. El Diablo has a dark side to him and is always in the background for the first part of the movie. When he comes into play though, we understand his reticence to come to the battle full throttle and that he is a man who realizes how ugly inside he is and realizes he has a penance to pay.

The woman in charge of this Squad is Amanda Waller, and she too has a dark side to her. This is someone you don’t want to mess with and is the perfect person to manage this ragtag gang of misfits. She is able to keep them in line by coercion, threats, and manipulation. Although she does have a very slight soft side to her that comes out in the end of the film, but I think that is even a means to end for her and her management of Project X.

Suicide Squad has it’s failings and is in no way a perfect movie, but it does more than entertain. It fits nicely in the already established DCCU and furthers the overall narrative of this new Cinematic Universe created by DC. At the time of this posting, the Monday after release, the audience and fans think so too as Suicide Squad is already in the top 10 for domestic earnings for 2016 in it’s first weekend.

In addition to the movie, the official soundtrack and the official score of Suicide Squad are top notch and worth listening to. The film has a hip hop vibe to it (maybe this is what turned off critics) and this is reflected in the soundtrack with artists such as Lil’ Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, and Eminem. It also has a cover of the classic hit, Bohemian Rhapsody, and includes Credence Clearwater Revivals’ Fortunate Son. The best new song on the album is ‘Heathens’ by Twenty One Pilots. The official score is composed by Academy Award Winner, Steven Price (for composing Gravity), and fits in nicely with the other DC film scores by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard.