Death on the Nile (2022): Kenneth Branagh Brings a River of Intrigue in This Engaging Murder Mystery

“Death on the Nile” is directed by Kenneth Branagh (Belfast, Thor), who also stars in the film as Hercule Poirot. Joining him in this Agatha Christie novel adaptation is Tom Bateman (Demons, Murder on the Orient Express), Annette Bening (American Beauty, Captain Marvel), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Arthur), Ali Fazal (Mirzapur, Furious 7), Dawn French (French and Saunders, Coraline), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Criminal), Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., On the Basis of Sex), Rose Leslie (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones), Emma Mackey (Sex Education, Eiffel), Sophie Okonedo (After Earth, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls), Jennifer Saunders (Sing, Shrek 2), and Letitia Wright (Sing 2, Black Panther). In this film, Hercule Poirot finds himself on a voyage, set on the Nile River, and ultimately has to investigate the behind the scenes shenanigans of a murder during said voyage.

I want to make a couple things clear. I have never read any Agatha Christie works, therefore I have nothing to compare this movie to as far as her material goes. I also will note that this could technically qualify as a sequel. “Death on the Nile” revolves around a group of people under the eye of Hercule Poirot, who was also portrayed by Kenneth Branagh in 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” He directed the film as well. I have never seen the film, so I cannot tell you anything in regards to Branagh’s previous efforts, whether they are in front of or behind the camera in said film. I was not particularly interested in it at the time, and my lack of interest unfortunately contributed to what I call a lack of knowledge in this circumstance. Nevertheless, the trailers intrigued me enough, Kenneth Branagh is on fire right now with “Belfast” having just come out, and the cast is stacked to the brim.

Well, there’s also Armie Hammer, I should also mention that.

With that being said, I kind of saw “Death on the Nile” on a whim, I bought a ticket less than an hour before the show because I was in the area, although I did intend to see it by the end of the weekend, and I have to say the movie in some ways pleased me in the ways I expected it to. Although it does have a double-edged sword.

One of the best things about “Death on the Nile” is the feud between the newlywed couple, the Doyles, and this one woman, Jackie, played marvelously by Emma Mackey, or as I call her, Samara Weaving’s lookalike. Prior to Simon Doyle’s connection with his new wife, Linnet, he used to be in love with Jackie, who just so happens to be following everyone else. I loved getting to know these characters and every scene Mackey is in is one that had my attention, partially because of how well she played the character. But this also brings me to my main con with the film, and it is that it takes a bit longer than I expected to actually see the murder shenanigans go down. Now don’t get me wrong, the film is entertaining from start to finish. I was invested in most of the scenes that were written, but that would have to be my big pacing issue of the film. For a film that calls itself “Death on the Nile,” the “death” is not exactly much of a standout until the film’s second half. Is the book the same way? Again, I do not know. I do not plan on reading it anytime soon, so frankly I do not care to know.

Although if I had to bring another positive to the table, it is that the film is easy on the eyes. The film is as exotic as it is suspenseful. The color palette throughout feels like an old-timey flick but with a modern twist. It is a film that feels like it simmers itself in tradition, but infuses some sugar and spice to make it more attractive.

The performers all do a great job at bringing their own flair to the mix in “Death on the Nile,” I cannot recall one performance that either underwhelmed or annoyed me. Well, kind of…

Going back to Emma Mackey’s character of Jackie, I want to focus on her for a bit because I admired Mackey’s performance, but I did so with the acknowledgement of how much I disliked her character. Let me just be clear, I watch a lot of movies, and usually when I watch one I like, I usually like all the characters because they make the movie fun and enjoyable to watch. This one is different. I can only recall a few movies I watched in my life where I hated a character who was in it, and used that hate to remind myself of how effective the movie was at doing its job. “Whiplash” and “The Lion King” are the first two titles that come to mind. Mackey’s behavior in the film made me feel like I was part of the film, and films are always better when they can immerse you into the frame. Mackey did so in a way that made me want to punch her in the face, and all respect to the actress. Emma Mackey, if you read this, I think you have an amazing future ahead of you. I would totally cast you in a film if I find the right role, but I will not lie when I say, your character should have been thrown into the Nile to sleep with the fishes.

I like you, I hate your character. And for that, the movie did its job.

I also want to talk about Gal Gadot. She is an actress I have admired ever since I saw her in “Batman v. Superman,” because while that film showed a weakness from her as a performer, specifically on some line delivery, I saw enormous potential in her, because she carried the action sequences like a champ. I probably said this a couple times in my life. In “Batman v. Superman,” the real winner is Wonder Woman. And I think in just about every movie that has come out since, she has at least improved in some way. In “Death on the Nile,” I think casting Gadot as Mrs. Doyle is appropriate, partially because Gadot looks like someone who can symbolize beauty and wealth at the same time (also, she statistically is very wealthy), but this film shows that she has improved as an actress. She is more able to carry a film now than she has ever been, and there are a couple of scenes where I was able to feel the weight of some of her lines.

And of course, I cannot ignore Kenneth Branagh, who not only makes this film look as pretty as it is, but he carries his weight to bring a lively performance to the table. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch Kenneth Branagh rock a mustache? If they’re making a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” adaptation set in Northern Ireland, I think Branagh would slay as Willy Wonka, and it would be better if the mustache stays. I think Branagh flat out just looks like someone who would be a detective in his spare time, so the fact that he’s cast as Poirot is undeniable. It’s perfect. Again, I have not seen “Murder on the Orient Express,” so I have nothing to compare this performance to franchise-wise. Having said that, “Death on the Nile” is good enough to the point that I want to go back at some point and give “Murder on the Orient Express” a try. Maybe compare the two and see which one’s better.

In the end, “Death on the Nile” is intriguing from beginning to end and offers an ensemble that gives you all the feelings from grace to anger to sadness. This may not end up being the best film of 2022, after all, the year is only beginning, but as far as this year’s fare, I recommend “Death on the Nile.” It has one or two pacing issues, but I feel like that could be a fairly subjective notion on my part. I probably won’t remember every single character, but there are quite a few that stand out to make this film one of the more entertaining experiences of the past number of months. I’m going to give “Death on the Nile” a 7/10.

“Death on the Nile” is now playing in theaters everywhere, tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed this review, I have more coming! My next review is going to be for the movie “Uncharted,” which just hit the big screen over a week and a half ago. Also coming up, I will be tackling my thoughts on “The Batman,” which hits theaters everywhere this week. If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Death on the Nile?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Agatha Christie book? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Red Notice (2021): The Three Biggest Movie Stars Join Forces to Torture Movie Watchers Everywhere

“Red Notice” is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Skyscraper, Central Intelligence) and stars Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, ), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Free Guy), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Criminal), Ritu Arya (Doctors, The Umbrella Academy), Chris Diamantopoulos (Up All Night, The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse), and this film centers around two agents who are assigned to track down the world’s most wanted art thief.

Netflix is the epitome of watching a movie or TV show from home today. You can go to your microwave, whip up some popcorn, turn on your smart television, open the app, and let those images fly. Granted there are other options like Hulu or Prime or HBO, but only one has earned the identity of being the place where can watch your stuff and “chill.” Although in recent years, Netflix has taken the movie theater business rather seriously. They’ve released great, emotional titles like “Roma” and “Marriage Story,” and they’ve racked up some Oscars here and there. They even released my favorite film of 2020, “Over the Moon,” which I’m sure is an opinion that others don’t typically share, but knowing myself, I really could have used that film at a certain time in my life, hence why I loved it so much. Netflix’s bread and butter is obviously streaming, but they’ll occasionally try their hardest on a movie when the moment allows. Extreme emphasis on when the moment allows. Because not all of their stuff is theatrical, and a straight to streaming movie is today’s equivalent of a straight to cable movie. Everything looks a bit less polished and they don’t always showcase high quality. But for “Red Notice,” this is an interesting case. This was released theatrically, so it has that going for it. But also, the film had not just one, but three of the highest paid actors working today.

You have Deadpool and Blue Shirt Guy himself, Ryan Reynolds. One of the sexy Canadian Ryans out there. Yes we Canada! I know, he’s not in “Toy Story,” just go with it!

You also have Dwayne Johnson, who if you ask me, is probably today’s biggest stereotype when it comes to being a movie star. He’s not the ultimate chameleon, but he has his fans and knows his audience.

Lastly, there’s Gal Gadot, who I have fallen in love with for awhile given her portrayal as Wonder Woman. I think when she first started in that role, granted that was not her first gig, I think her line delivery could have been improved, but I saw potential in her, and she has been growing since then. And one of the first positives I can give to this film in terms of Gal Gadot being in it is that this is one of the better performances I’ve seen from her. The reason is because the way her character is written and directed unleashes the thought I have held for her for a long time. Gadot is probably one of the most beautiful women acting right now. Whether it is of highest intentions or not, which it probably is, she spends much of the movie coming off as almost semi-seductive in every scene. She has a couple lines in this film that feel like they come out of an action-packed porno.

I will also give the movie another thing. When it comes to the costumes, again as an example, I’ll mention Gal Gadot’s red outfit that is almost intentionally meant to put her perverted enemies at bay, they’re very well done. Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson look like they’re going to be the highlights of spy prom. I think many of the costumes in “Red Notice” are dazzling to say the least. I will also say that some of the sets are well put together and they occasionally make me want to travel the world. But I also want to note that nearly every positive I have given so far is either something based on looks, or how attractive the cast is. As the old saying goes, looks aren’t everything. How is the actual movie in terms of substance?

It’s pure crap. Honestly, this looks like a cheap “Fast & Furious” ripoff that is not quite bad enough to be in the Walmart $5 bin, but that kind of makes it worse because looks can be incredibly deceiving. It has the looks of a modern blockbuster, but it has a script that was created by a 12 year old! This film cost $200 million to make. I bet the three leads received an enormous portion of that pile of cash. I mean, what does Ryan Reynolds need all that money for? Is he gonna try to buy Canada or something?!

This is one of those scripts that if you are specifically writing it with the actors who ended up in this movie in mind, it would sound great in a pitch, but from my perspective, it’s also kind of a long shot considering some of these actors having busy schedules. Given the final results, I think these actors should have stayed busy.

Look, I love Ryan Reynolds as much as the next guy. I think he is one of the most hilarious dudes, and possibly my favorite movie star on the market today, but I have to admit, I don’t think I laughed once when this character was on screen. Part of his role in this film is the typical Ryan Reynolds schtick where he’s almost got traits of a lovable idiot but in actuality he’s not that much of a dumbass, but every line out of his mouth is ridiculously flat and I don’t even know if he was just off while filming or if Rawson Marshall Thurber is not as good at directing as I would like him to be. I liked “Central Intelligence.” I just wish “Red Notice” was as entertaining as that. This film is edited and written as an action-packed thrill ride. Why doesn’t the acting match the feel of a thrill instead of coming off as slightly robotic?

In fact when I watch this movie and I look at Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds, the first thing I’m reminded of is “Hobbs & Shaw.” Only it’s ten times worse… Because between the characters of Hobbs and Shaw, you had chemistry. One of the best things about the film “Hobbs & Shaw” for me was the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. They hated each other, and they took every other moment to acknowledge their displeasure. Sometimes it was really funny. Whenever I look at, again, Dwayne Johnson, shows you the kinds of roles he’s taken in recent years, alongside Ryan Reynolds, I feel like I’m watching a watered down version of that pair. Even though the “Fast & Furious” franchise has never made a single masterpiece, the one thing it often gets right is the chemistry between certain characters, Hobbs and Shaw being one notable example.

Also, this film has one of the lamest and most forced examples of Coca-Cola product placement in recent memory. It felt like something out of an “SNL” sketch that made fun of an action movie as opposed to an actual action movie.

In the end, when it comes to “Red Notice,” there is not much to say except that it is one of the most forgettable landfills of a film I have watched in some time. Again, the stars look cool, the sets look cool, but I feel like more time was spent on developing the style of the movie to the point where Rawson Marshall Thurber and others involved literally forgot substance. I thought it would be tough for Dwayne Johnson to release a film that is worse than “Jungle Cruise” this year. Well, here we are. I also thought it was gonna be tough for Ryan Reynolds to crap out something worse than “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” this year. Mission accomplished, I guess! Gal Gadot looks stunning in a red dress. Okay. Let’s make a good script with that concept in it! How bout that? I’m going to give “Red Notice” a 2/10.

“Red Notice” is now available on Netflix for all subscribers. The film also released in theaters, but it has been a month since it came out, so I would not count on going to the theater to see this film at this point.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed this review, I just want to let you know that I have more coming. I have reviews coming for “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” “King Richard,” “Tick, Tick…BOOM!,” “Encanto,” “Sing 2,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” and “West Side Story.” I’m also going to be seeing “Spider-Man: No Way Home” soon, so I will have a review for that as well.

Also, tomorrow, I will be sharing my thoughts on “The Matrix Reloaded” as part of the ongoing review series “The Matrix Reviewed!” Stay tuned!

If you want to see this and more on Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Red Notice?” What did you think about it? Or, what is the most disappointing movie you’ve seen with a great cast? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

My Top 10 Movie Crushes

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Earlier this week was Valentine’s Day, or as single people like me call it, February 14th. And that’s about it. When I watch movies, one of the main reasons why I glue myself to them is for all the well-developed and thought out characters. Sometimes, a movie can immerse me to the point where I feel like I am a part of their world. Sometimes the movie takes me from reality to fantasy, and in that fantasy, I sometimes see myself as a part of another character’s life. Maybe even to the point where I would want to hold hands with them. Perhaps even take things further. That is why I am taking this Valentine’s Day week to discuss my top 10 movie crushes. Now you may notice, unlike other top 10s, such as “Top 10 BEST Movies of 2020,” I am calling this “My Top 10 Movie Crushes.” There is a reason for that. Unlike my other countdowns, this is one where it is not only subjective, but perhaps one that could only be contained within my identity. I am a 21 year old straight white male, so do not interpret this as characters you should have a crush on as well. Even if you are a 21 year old straight white male, I am not saying you should agree with this. Your emotions and identity are your own and I am in no way trying to brainwash anyone.

Now let me just make one thing clear. These picks are on CHARACTERS specifically, not the ACTORS that play them, although as you’ll see, that may be a contributing factor. So instead of saying for example, #10 is Megan Fox, I would go with a character they play such as Mikayla from “Transformers.” Plus I should note that some of the actors who portray these characters are more distant from me in terms of age today, whereas a good portion of the characters are relatively close in one degree or another, so I hope this may end up making this list less awkward for some readers. Also, another rule, I need to have seen a movie the character is in from start to finish in order for their presence on this list to count. So, that eliminates a lot of “Bond” characters, Linda Barrett from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and Madison from “Splash.” Also, even though I am a guy, I am not here to confuse anyone. This is not a list of the “Top 10 Sexiest Movie Characters.” We are not diving into that stereotype, although as you’ll see, looks will play a factor. With that being said, let’s get this list going! These are my top 10 movie crushes!

#10: Lorraine Baines/McFly (Back to the Future)

There has been a period over the past year that reminded me of how batcrap insane “Back to the Future” really is. It is a film where the protagonist goes back in time in a car, has to get his parents to fall in love, so they can f*ck, therefore having him and his siblings. The problem is, the protagonist’s mother lusts after him after he is hit by what just so happens to be his grandparent’s car. Holy freaking crap. I’ll admit, since my early teens, I’ve always had some attachment to Lorraine in “Back to the Future.” She’s attractive, somewhat nervous but also someone who knows what she wants, and from a fashion standpoint. Every outfit she wears suits her well. If I saw her in a room, I would immediately introduce myself as Calvin Klein. Now keep in mind, this list comes from someone who is 21 years old, therefore I should emphasize that when it comes to the “Back to the Future” timeline, I am mainly talking about 1955 Loraine. Although apocalyptic 1985 Lorraine is kind of sexy too, even though part of the reason for that is because Biff Tannen is practically going all Jabba the Hutt on her and giving her the most self-angering outfit in the world. But if I had to pick one to have by my side, it would be 1955 Elaine. I would take her to a dance if I had the opportunity. Plus unlike apocalyptic 1985 Lorraine, who again, is hella attractive, is perhaps somewhat brainwashed into a rich man’s lifestyle. Although part of me would want to help her escape it (because part of her maybe wants out from time to time).

#9: Tauriel (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

I love “The Lord of the Rings.” Want proof?

I just bought this bad boy in January. Well worth the $150.

But I was one of those people who happened to stumble upon “The Hobbit” prior to watching “Lord of the Rings.” To be fair, I was in my early teens, the films were PG-13, so I missed out on the hype train back in the day. However, when the “Hobbit” trilogy came out, I saw them all in IMAX 3D. I did it for the first film. I did it twice for the second film. And I also did it twice for the third film. I was hooked to the fantastical wonderland of Middle Earth at the time. So of course, since I repeatedly watched the trilogy, I easily got attached to Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly. If I had to pick one person to fight alongside on this list, there are a few that I would go with, but I assure you that Tauriel would be one of the top contenders. I will say, despite vastly enjoying “The Hobbit” as a trilogy, one of its problems through all three movies is that the dwarves are nearly disposable. Yes, they have their personalities and stories behind them, but it is almost difficult to keep track of all of them and remember them. So that’s why I’d say Kili is one of more attachable individuals in the group, due to his love connection to Tauriel. I buy their chemistry, even if it is somewhat comparable to say “Romeo & Juliet” at times. But it is not to say that she cannot be great on her own. She can rock a bow and arrow, her combat is sleek as much as it kicks butt, and technically speaking, based on one scene from “The Desolation of Smaug,” she’s arguably qualified enough to be a medical professional! Oh, did I mention that Elvish is such a fun language? Even though I don’t exactly know a word of it, I stand by that statement. Yeah, I think many “Lord of the Rings” fans would agree that for the most part, if you want a partner by your side, try to convince one of the elves to have lunch with you and see where it goes.

#8: Vanessa (Deadpool)

Morena Baccarin has been a frequent player in geek culture. She was in “Firefly,” “Serenity,” CW’s “The Flash,” Fox’s “Gotham.” But the role I’ll probably remember her for the most is Vanessa in “Deadpool.” The film is one of the rare attempts in the comic book movie genre to take things into R-rated territory, and it goes for it. Excessive language, graphic violence, and as for Vanessa and the film’s lead, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), the two are quite a couple. The two are cute, charming, and of course, horny. One scene of the film that stood out to me every time I watched it is the sex montage. For starters, it was the first R-rated hardcore sex scene I saw in a theater, not to mention an eight story IMAX. While the whole movie is not a sexual extravaganza, you know, all it is just a little violent, just a little heavy on language, just a little rambunctious on action, that scene defined the romantic tone that partially intertwined with the rest of what the movie had to offer. Vanessa is not just a stud that lusts after one of the sexy Ryans from Canada, she is charismatic, knows how to have fun (I’d take her to an arcade, personally), and when she was in pain, I felt for her. I wanted her to live. And even when she is in distress, she is notably capable of defending herself. Also, while this may be more of a compliment to Baccarin than anybody else, I love Vanessa’s hair. Even since I was young, I think I’ve had a thing for brunettes. Vanessa, or Morena Baccarin depending on how slice it, is just part of why.

#7: Lisa (Weird Science)

When I think of a mind in film that defined the 1980s, that would have to be John Hughes. The man wrote and directed several movies that continue to come up in conversations today. Movies like “The Breakfast Club,” “Home Alone,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” When it comes to those last two, I cherish them to a high degree because of how much I can attach their personal concept to my life. I like privacy, even as a kid I enjoyed it. As for school, while education may be essential in some cases, I did not go because I wanted to, I went because that is how society works. But one film Hughes did that I thoroughly enjoyed was “Weird Science.” If you want a wacky 1980s comedy where life is whimsical and crazy, this has that vibe. And of course, there was Lisa. This pick is just the first in a recurring theme on this list. Women that do not have the same life experiences as a regular person. Look, I could start this description off with the obvious. Lisa wears slick outfits that can turn a guy on. But that’s only a sliver of why she is on the list. Yes, when she is introduced, she comes out wearing almost nothing, which as a result, gets our two main characters, Gary and Wyatt, rather excited. Then we move onto the next scene where they shower with her. I think every teenager to a degree has imagined something crazy like that at some point in their young lives. But all of what I just said revolves around looks, which if that were the case, Lisa would be either lower on the list, or off it entirely. So let’s talk about her personality. Well, this is almost everything a young boy would want in a girl. She is fun, not afraid to take risks, explorative, honest, although maybe a little too honest. Because there is a hilarious scene where Lisa lets herself loose and explains to Gary’s parents that he plans to party with a bunch of teenagers. She even goes into explicit detail about it!

You know, there’s going to be sex, drugs, rock-n-roll… chips, dips, chains, whips… You know, your basic high school orgy type of thing. I mean, uh, I’m not talking candlewax on the nipples, or witchcraft or anything like that, no, no, no. Just a couple of hundred kids running around in their underwear, acting like complete animals.

-Lisa

In this scene, Gary does everything he can to defend himself, say that he is not doing anything crazy, including trying to tell his parents that he does not masturbate in the bathroom, despite Lisa outright confirming it to their faces! The scene overall is just wild. I was not always like Gary. I was never the party type of person in high school, although I am proud to say I won “Best Dancer” in the yearbook. I was never invited, nor did I ever go. It was just never my thing. I felt like it would have people perceive me to be a type of person that I am not. Even though I just turned 21, I do not drink. I do not smoke. I do not do any drugs. But at the same time, this movie sort of makes me want to have someone in my life that could allow me to have some fun, let myself screw around, boost my popularity. I imagine this is sort of similar to the philosophy about “girls liking bad boys.” While I wouldn’t call Lisa dangerous, she is edgy. She has all the qualities of an admirable person if you ask me, but at the same time, she sort of pushes the envelope. Did I mention she’s attractive? Yeah, that too.

#6: Ava (Ex Machina)

“Ex Machina” is a fascinating film. Much like “2001: A Space Odyssey” was back when it came out, “Ex Machina” is an intriguing glance as to what could happen if we rely on computers and use them for purposes that practically make them our slaves. Except in this case, the movie specifies more as to what happens if we deeply humanized a computer to the point where it is almost a part of our kind. It has our emotions, our thoughts, our way of processing what is in front of us. In fact, we kind of achieved that in real life. In Saudi Arabia, they have a robot that has been given citizenship. While I am not at the point where I have yearned for a robot in real life, I can confirm that part of me would not mind getting to know Ava from “Ex Machina” on an intimate level. Now, while not all robots are capable of love, part of Ava’s many human-like traits is that she has an understanding of romance, the connection between one lover to another. She even ends up having feelings for the film’s lead, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). I can see myself falling for her in the same situation. We do a bunch of tests together, get to know each other, interact, it’s almost like a date to some capacity. Plus, as I am doing each test, I particularly happen to view Ava more as a subject than a friend, so if I keep coming back to her, it is sort of in the same way I keep coming back to a passion project. Part of the beauty of a romantic relationship is getting to explore life with someone else, getting to explore the world with someone else. In the case with Ava, I would not just be exploring my life with her if we were together, Ava would arguably be exploring the concept of life in general. After all, in this film’s timeline, she was recently built. She has never even been outdoors. While relationships are 50/50, I would not mind having a major dash of credibility by taking Ava outside for the first time. I know I am a guy, which kind of suggests that looks play a major factor into a relationship, but do I care that she goes through the film with nearly no skin? Heck no! In fact, the Academy seems to agree with me, because the film won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects! Ava sounds like someone I would take out to dinner, then explore the city with for hours. Then I would teach her everything joyous about humanity, although maybe I should watch myself before she forms an army with a plot for world domination. I guess that’s a good reason to keep her lower on the list.

#5: Art3mis/Samantha (Ready Player One)

Not everyone agrees with me, but I think “Ready Player One” is one of the best films of the past few years. It is a visual effects-heavy thrill ride through a virtual reality world in 2045. If I lived in 2045, I would totally flock after Samantha, otherwise known by her username, Art3mis (pronounced similar to Artemis). Early on in the film, we see Wade Watts, also known as Parzival, racing for a key to aid his quest to own the OASIS, the virtual reality world where everything seems to matter. So much so that real life is meaningless. After all, there is nowhere to go. Nevertheless, during the race, he gazes upon a woman riding on a bike from “Akira.” Turns out, through his personal observations, this girl is not just anyone, it is Art3mis. He knows everything about her, not exactly in a stalkerish way, but it comes pretty close. Their first encounter in the film is near the end of the race where Parzival forces Art3mis to bail out to avoid getting slaughtered by King Kong. The two eventually get to know each other, even discussing what they know about the founder of the OASIS, James Halliday. The reason why I love Art3mis as a character so much is because of what she represents in the realm of the Internet. I mean this is not only from a crush perspective, but from a perspective where two people can simply be friends. It is that you may not always know who other people actually are. They could end up being your best friend, but in reality, unless you somehow have met them in person or maybe over Skype or something, there is a chance that the person you’re talking to is of a completely different identity, or not even a person at all. Art3mis represents that Internet fantasy that somewhat feels legit, but also feels faraway because you either live nowhere near the person or you barely know them in real life. As for the character herself, I like my nerds, she knows her references, so personality-wise, Samantha checks the boxes. Plus, I really like the design of her avatar in the OASIS. The movie does a really good job at making me fall for someone that does not feel like anyone else I’d meet. It would be someone I would dream about that maybe is not even human. It takes me to another world. Plus, the dress she wears in the Distracted Globe scene is utter fire. Art3mis is the quintessential encapsulation of your basic Internet friend. You may not KNOW them, even when you feel like you know everything about them. Or in some ways, you just want to get to know more and more about them by the second.

#4: Joi (Blade Runner 2049)

This is one of the more unique entries to the list, because this character is technically not a woman. Nor is it a human. It is a hologram. I give you Joi, the love interest to Ryan Gosling’s K in “Blade Runner 2049.” After I watched “Blade Runner 2049” a couple times, part of me began to fall for the actress playing Joi, Ana de Armas, and part of it is not only because she looks attractive, but because she encapsulates a person that knows very little about the world around her. I am not saying she is stupid, but keep in mind, again, she is a hologram. She is programmed. She is manufactured. The movie makes it clear that Joi is in fact a product and K is only a consumer of said product. In some ways, Joi is like Fox News. She rarely does something because she sees it as beneficial to her. The way I look at Joi as a character, she is there to serve her partner, perhaps her master. Tell them what they want to hear. She is not just someone in their life, they are a cheerleader, a motivational speaker. At the same time, it feels like this character wants to go through a journey of self-discovery. There is a scene where she is seemingly amused by rain, while also enjoying the moment with her partner. Also in some cases, she’s practically the 2049 version of Seri.

(referring to Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind”) “Did you know this song was released in 1966 on Reprise Records? It was number 1 on the charts…”

-Joi

Ana de Armas provides such an intimate, sensual, emotional, and all round cute performance that when she would fizzle, my jaw would drop a little. I have a couple concerns about her character, one long term concern being if I were in the “Blade Runner” universe, and if this product were successful, it would perhaps nearly antiquate the traditional human to human relationship, thus making the species die out overtime. Eh, we’re overpopulated now anyway. If there’s a balance between real and artificial, who knows? It might help. Although technically, the movie does show that one can make love with Joi while she syncs into someone else’s body, so reproduction may still be possible, as long as a third party is involved. My one question is this, are there male versions of Joi? Because thus far, Joi has mainly been marketed as an attractive, supportive woman, most likely for straight men. Can Joi transform into another gender? I kind of want to know more about this if we get another “Blade Runner” film in the future.

#3; Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Iron Man 2, Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Look, I’m a guy. And a lot of my picks partially base themselves around attractiveness. If you thought Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow would be an exception, then clearly you have never met the Movie Reviewing Moron. If there is one girl I would hang out with in a bar in the MCU, the answer would be Natasha Romanoff. I will admit, despite what I said about Vanessa and my potential thing for brunettes. Over the years, I think I have learned that I may also like redheads. Although I should note that even in “Avengers: Infinity War,” where she is blonde, Romanoff is a ticket. But my crush on Romanoff started pretty early when I saw her in “Iron Man 2.” I will admit, I watched 2012’s “The Avengers” before watching “Iron Man 2,” but my first actual attraction to her began in “Iron Man 2,” even though she probably looks her best in “The Avengers.” The fast-paced action scene in the white hallway towards the end of “Iron Man 2” is enough of a showstopper. Romanoff is incredibly kick-ass, sexy, and every outfit she wears suits her. Did I mention Scarlett Johansson’s voice? It is commanding and it makes you want to watch her do anything. Like… type a document. Or write in a diary. Or read a book out loud. If I were perhaps 13 and making this list, there is a solid chance that Romanoff could potentially be #1, because at that age, I am more about looks, whereas personality is just some added bonus points. I say this because even today, I cannot directly pinpoint much of her interests. She kicks people in the face and makes it look sexy. What else can I say? Plus her backstory is not really explored all that much until “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” meaning that it took 5 years and a phase in the cinematic universe to start exploring more about her character. And yeah, I know what she does for work. She’s with the Avengers, she’s a spy, but I also want to know more about what she does for fun. I mean, the MCU has 23 movies so far, with a 24th HOPEFULLY arriving in theaters this May, and that movie is a Black Widow-centered prequel. I got to know Black Widow over the years as an ass-kicking Avenger who looks like she’s way out of my league, can rock a bunch of different outfits, not to mention hairstyles. I want to know more about HER. Hopefully the upcoming “Black Widow” film can shine a light on the subject.

#2: Lana (Risky Business)

There are two movies starring Tom Cruise that I often debate as my favorites of all time, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” and “Risky Business.” While I will say Vanessa Kirby is quite good looking as The White Widow in the former, today we are going to be talking about the latter. We are going to be talking about Rebecca De Mornay’s character, Lana, from “Risky Business.” This film is one that gets better with every viewing, and as one who looks back at his high school years with mixed feelings, I sort of relate to this film. For those of you who have not seen the film, Joel Goodson, a teenager in his senior year of high school, is convinced that while his parents are away, he needs an excuse to let himself loose and have some fun. This gets to the point where he calls up Lana, a prostitute, who has sex with him all night. The next morning, after Joel fails to provide $300 for the services, she leaves before he can return to his house. Also missing, a Stueben glass egg. From the moment Joel tries to retrieve it, the moment he finds Lana and the two escape from Guido the Killer Pimp, they prove that they are a 5/5 in terms of chemistry. But also what makes Lana a fine entry to the list is De Mornay’s sensual performance. She always has this futuristic, other-worldly quality to her. She does a really good job at capturing the “girl out of my league” vibe that maybe Lana was supposed to represent. After all, when she is introduced, she is not just a girl, she is the listener to Joel’s demands. That is until he has to pay $300 and the two become friends and work together to overcome each other’s obstacles.

Oh yeah, and they make love on a subway. No big deal.

Will say though, the only turnoff I have about her is that even though she does feel somewhat sensually rebellious in various ways, is that she will occasionally smoke. If I were in the scene on the lake where all the characters get high, there’s a good chance I’d repeatedly tell everyone that I don’t smoke. It’s the same reason why I put Lorraine Baines lower on the list, because she does smoke in the scene where Marty is in the car with her. I don’t want to judge people for smoking, that is their choice after all, but for all I know, Lana could be a bad influence and get me to join in, and I do not want that. This is why I never had a chance with girls. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I do not party. Okay, enough with the self-deprecation, let’s move on.

#1: Wonder Woman/Diana Prince *Gal Gadot interpretation* (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Detective Comics Extended Universe)

Here’s a question. Who won the fight in “Batman v. Superman?”

The answer, Wonder Woman!

Yeah, Wonder Woman is probably my favorite of the heroes in the current Detective Comics Extended Universe. She has a fleshed out backstory that is magical as it is intriguing, she can wield a sword like a boss, and her battle cry is just glorious. Let me just put it this way, there has rarely ever been a moment that a character in any movie has commanded my attention like she has just from thrusting into battle with an epic yell. Sticking with a recurring theme on this list, one reason why Wonder Woman is on here is likely because of her other-worldliness. She starts off in the mythical island of Themiscyra, comes to Earth with Steve Trevor, where she is the fish out of water, and she learns the ways of mankind overtime. She encounters some friends and foes along the way, making her into the wonderous being she is today. I did not have many thoughts on Gal Gadot originally being cast as the iconic heroine, but the moment I witnessed her on screen when I saw “Batman v. Superman” in IMAX, I was in love. First off, can we just admit that by herself, Gal Gadot may be one of the most gorgeous actresses working today? I’ll admit, in some of her earlier roles, including her first go as Wonder Woman in 2016, I was a little worried because her line delivery was occasionally flat, but her physical presence that I think many performers would vie for sort of makes up for it in parts. Sometimes I glance at her and she looks like someone who watched us from space for years, but somehow she decided to join us in the end. However, Gadot has definitely improved as a performer over the years, and she has nailed the role of Diana Prince harder with each attempt. Even in “Wonder Woman 1984,” which I will admit, was not my favorite of the DCEU movies to have come out. Going back to the character herself, the reason why I admire her as a heroine is despite her superpowers, despite being the pinnacle of all things mighty for women, she is not afraid to show her emotions. She is a god, but she is also quite personable. Kind of like how Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has been portrayed in recent years. But this all harkens back to the point that when it comes to a character like this, one that has the qualities of a human, one that has the qualities of an earthling, but also one who I can teach in a way or another, that is why Diana Prince is the wonder of it all. Plus, unlike Ava from “Ex Machina,” I would personally like to know more about Prince’s world. I would love to see Themiscyra, what the people there do for fun, maybe stay there for awhile. I cannot just one-side the entire relationship to just my planet. I have to show interest in where Diana Prince came from, how she grew up, what she appreciated about life before earth. And having seen all of her story in the DCEU so far, I do care. I think Diana Prince and I would get along fine, maybe more so than Chris Pine. To quote Vitruvius from “The LEGO Movie,” “All this is true because it rhymes.”

For those who want to know my opinion, I think Marvel makes better movies than DC right now. DC seemed like they were getting on the right track with “Aquaman” and “Shazam,” but then “Birds of Prey” and “Wonder Woman 1984” came along. but let me tell you the truth, if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with a character from one of those universes, I’d pick Diana Prince before anyone in the MCU. Let’s look at it this way. Part of the reason why Black Widow is on this list, not to mention part of why she is so high on it, is because of my attachment to her since my early teens that has not really gone away. And as I mentioned, I really do not know her as a person, although it is something to maybe get to know eventually depending on where things go. If I had to make this analogy any simpler, Natasha Romanoff may be fun to hang out with in a bar, maybe for a one night stand. Diana Prince has looks, she has personality, she seems to take life one day at a time, and she sounds like an optimist. And I’d say that Natasha Romanoff shares those qualities as well, but if I had to choose one person, I’d choose Diana because I’d probably end up liking her more for, well… her, than maybe I would for Natasha.

The only thing that I could think of that would keep me away from Diana is if I develop a habit of lying. Either to her or other people, because her lasso would probably bash my brains in. Other than that, I love her.

Thanks for reading this countdown! I hope you enjoyed this, well, pretty late to be a Valentine’s Day special, but you gotta do what ya gotta do. The best posts take time, not a Sonic the Hedgehog style rush! Speaking of posts that take time, I want to let you all know that on February 28th, I will be announcing the nominees for the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards! The ceremony will take place two weeks after, on March 14th. I am also currently working on reviews for “Minari” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.” I will hopefully have both of those up soon. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, also like the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, are there any characters in film that you desire? Remember, the key word is characters, not actors, this may provide a slight difference at the very least. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020): Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins Return to the Big (and Small) Screen

“Wonder Woman 1984” is directed by Patty Jenkins, who also directed the first “Wonder Woman” film starring Gal Gadot (Keeping Up with the Joneses, Fast Five) back in 2017. Gadot returns to play the iconic heroine alongside a cast including Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Game of Thrones), Chris Pine (Star Trek, This Means War), Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters), Robin Wright (House of Cards, Forrest Gump), and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, One Hour Photo). This film takes place many years after the original, which was set in World War I. This time, we journey to 1984, where Wonder Woman has to take on two new foes, Max Lord and the Cheetah. Also, Steve Trevor, reprised by Chris Pine, comes along for the ride.

It has been three and a half years since I first watched “Wonder Woman,” which I originally gave a 10/10. By the way, that 10/10 still stands. The film is somewhat cliché. It contains things that have been done before, there is no denying that. But it does so with excellence and in a way that feels fresh and exciting. Plus, you can also add on that we have not had many successes with comic book movies specifically centered around characters portrayed by women. This felt like not just a proper, but a *massive* step in the right direction. It was also my favorite film in the DCEU at the time. In my review for the original film, I go onto mention that when it comes to “origin stories,” “Wonder Woman” may be my all time favorite in regards to movies. Part of it has to do with the singular and stellar vision provided by director Patty Jenkins and all the performances from cast members including Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. The villians were… okay. However, each action sequence, even those that others say are heavy in CGI, are exciting and heart-pumping. I know some people find the final act to be clunky, I had a great time with it. Plus, Wonder Woman’s theme music, which was first introduced in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is arguably my favorite superhero theme of all time. Maybe except the one created for Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man.

Going into “Wonder Woman 1984,” it was hard to imagine that such a movie could surpass the original. However, based on early reviews, it seemed as if such a thing would be possible. After all, we’ve already gotten the been there done that origin story out of the way, if you want to call it that. It was time for something new, innovative. Going in, I already had my expectations blown away. I did not expect Chris Pine to return. Like, literally. At all. Then again, this takes place in a comic book universe where anything is possible. There were also some new things in regards to tech. Not that they haven’t been done before, just not in the original “Wonder Woman,” because this new flick was partially shot on IMAX film. And if you have read a number of my posts, you know I rave about IMAX film. By the way, while the movie is shot in the heavy duty format, there is barely any footage that will expand the frame in IMAX. However, it may be worth the extra few bucks if those theaters are open near you.

But is “Wonder Woman 1984” worth the hype? Absolutely not.

Well! Well! Well! 2020 strikes again! “Wonder Woman 1984” is not only a massive disappointment to one of the most anticipated films of the year. “Wonder Woman 1984” is not only a step down from the original 2017 film. “Wonder Woman 1984” is not only the worst comic book movie of the year. Yes, more than “Bloodshot” for crying out loud! But it is also the worst entry to DCEU thus far.

Now, let me just get one thing out of the way. I am a straight white male in his early twenties. I am not one of those people that is trying cancel Gal Gadot. After all, I met her in person, I have her autograph, and she is a decent actress. I am also not trying to cancel Patty Jenkins, which the Internet seems to be doing according to many people. If they come out with a “Wonder Woman 3” with these two at the front lines, I am there. Their work on the original film justifies such a thing, and Jenkins is a director that is completely capable of making something magical. In fact, most of the problems of the film do not have to do with how the movie is made. It instead has to do with the pacing, the editing, the way everything plays out, the characters, and the writing. Admittedly, Jenkins is responsible for that last mistake, given how she has a screenplay credit. I don’t know if I should blame her entirely given how she wrote the script with a couple other people, but I should also point out that she did not have a screenplay credit for the previous “Wonder Woman” installment. This time around, Jenkins collaborates with Dave Callaham, who wrote the script for one of last year’s best comedies, “Zombieland: Double Tap.” Also along for the ride is Geoff Johns who has plenty of experience of creating DC content. So, what went wrong? Was there not enough time to draft everything out? Were there so many ideas colliding from three different minds? I don’t know. Patty Jenkins seems very passionate about the Wonder Woman character. In fact, throughout the movie, Jenkins properly visualizes the character as a beacon of hope and inspiration for people, especially women.

This movie starts off pretty great. By the way, for those who want to see the film in IMAX, this is one of the two scenes that were actually filmed in the IMAX format. The scene not only looked articulate and felt immersive, but it may have ended up being the best part of the movie. It is action-packed, exciting, and lets you escape into the world Themyscira. Sadly, the movie kind of blows its load in the first ten minutes. Because it spends time showing you young Diana Prince (Lilly Aspell), progresses to a time where we see a matured Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), and in these initial scenes, the action never stops whether Diana is trying to win an athletic event for herself, or she saves the lives of others. Even so, it does kind of feel like action that does belong in the beginning of a superhero sequel. The main character kicks ass while you get reintroduced to them, and the movie sets a footprint for where the story is going to go. “Wonder Woman 1984” sets up a vibe that fits the title. You see people walking around in eccentric clothing, there’s record stores, CRT television sets, and a multi-story colorful mall. When it comes to the first hour of “Wonder Woman 1984,” these scenes were fine. What wasn’t fine in the first hour is perhaps just about everything else.

What do I mean? Let’s take a moment to talk about the worst “Lord of the Rings” film. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” I’ll be fair. I did have fun with the movie, but one of the worst things about “An Unexpected Journey” was the pacing. This may partially be due to the need to adapt one book into three parts, but the evidence comes in towards the beginning where we see the 13 dwarves coming into Bilbo Baggins’s home. A lot of the screentime almost feels extended and nearly tiresome. There are some decent moments, but it does not always make for a good time. It takes like 45 minutes to an hour to actually get the movie going. With “Wonder Woman 1984,” I got the same feeling. It just took forever to actually get into gear. Mainly because this film feels like a stockpile of exposition. “Batman v. Superman” sort of felt the same way, but I think I had more fun watching that, exposition included, than I did sitting through whatever the hell “Wonder Woman 1984” turned out to be. To add onto that, you have some cringe-worthy lines, less than stellar characters, and a surprisingly boring storyline, part of which includes a role reversal.

Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor in this movie. I will not go into detail of his return, but this was heavily marketed, so if you’re considering this a spoiler, I’m sorry. In the 2017 “Wonder Woman” film, Gal Gadot’s character has to deal with the new sights of earth and learn the normalcies within. To do so, she had the assistance of Steve Trevor along the way. Diana Prince came off occasionally as eccentric, she said certain things that maybe would be better left unsaid, and there’s a montage where she’s trying on unfamiliar apparel. This time around, Diana assists Steve in 1984, because now he’s the fish out of water. Much like the last movie, there is a reversal where Steve is trying on different clothes that defined the 1980s. He occasionally had a fanny pack, “parachute pants,” and so on. That scene kind of entertained me. However, the rest of this storyline was mostly either boring or impractical. There is a scene where Diana and Steve are flying through the sky looking at fireworks. And sure, fireworks are a sight to be seen. There is reason why Disney World charges you your entire blood supply to see them up close. But this movie made me ask if Steve has never actually seen fireworks in his life. The way I viewed the scene made me wonder why he was actually as amazed as he was in those exact moments. Fireworks have been around for a long time. Many years, centuries even! Why is Chris Pine acting like he’s never seen fireworks before?

This movie features a couple respectable actors, you have Pedro Pascal who I liked in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” he’s also in hit TV shows including “Game of Thrones” and “The Mandalorian.” The guy has been certain cores of nerd culture over the years. You also have Kristen Wiig, who I have rather mixed feelings on. I was not a fan of her in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. I don’t think I find her as funny as other people do. But I also am a fan her in other regards. I think she did a fine job in “The Martian” and her voiceover work in projects like “Sausage Party” and the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise are highlights in her career. Sadly, their performances are very on and off here. I would not ease myself into saying that the actors themselves are specifically at fault, but these two portray their characters to a degree that feels cartoony and off-putting. “Wonder Woman 1984” gets into the problem that people have criticized movies like “Batman & Robin,” “Spider-Man 3,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” for realizing. MULTIPLE MAJOR THREATS.

I am not saying you cannot make a movie with more than one villain. It has been done before with “Return of the Jedi,” “The Dark Knight,” and if you really think this counts, “Back to the Future Part II.” But the beauty of having one major threat in your movie is that you get to make them the source of everyone’s struggle. Time is taken to specifically focus on that one character and why they must stopped. We somewhat get that in “Wonder Woman 1984” with Max Lord (Pascal), but when it comes to Barbara Minerva (Wiig), the way she is handled is sort of similar to how they handled Eddie Brock in “Spider-Man 3.” Only thing is, I was actually entertained whenever Eddie Brock had a scene in “Spider-Man 3.” Topher Grace played the part well, even during lines that were not up to par. Wiig tries, but the problem is that some of the writing in “Wonder Woman 1984” makes some of the writing in “Spider-Man 3” look like Shakespeare. Maybe that’s not the best comparison, mainly because I am one of the few people who genuinely enjoyed “Spider-Man 3.” However, there are a few lines and storytelling methods in that film that do not fall into place.

But if you want me to compare “Wonder Woman 1984” to another film I did not enjoy, let’s use “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” In that film, you have Electro and the Green Goblin. There’s also the Rhino, but we’re gonna leave him out for this. The two major threats in “Wonder Woman 1984” are basically just like Electro and the Green Goblin in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but instead of being exact carbon copies, they take various qualities of each character, but they are switched around to make something new. Like Electro, Barbara is eccentric, kind of shy, almost a nobody. But kind of like the Green Goblin, she barely has any screentime as Cheetah. And whatever screentime there is almost feels forced or nearly unmemorable. As for Max Lord, he’s got funky hair like Harry Osborn, he’s affiliated with a big company. And like Electro, he has a more significant screen presence when it comes to dealing with our main hero. This all adds up to an underwhelming evil duo in an underwhelming movie. But I do have to say one thing about Max Lord, and it kind of turned me off. He’s basically Donald Trump.

Think about it! This movie is painting a picture of an obsessive, failed businessman and kinda sorta television personality who has little time for their kids. In fact, my first impression of his son was that he was sort of a spoiled brat, which does not always seem to stick for the rest of the movie. Again, the hairstyle feels like something out of a meme. There is even a scene, and you saw this in the main trailer for this film, where he stands in front of a background representing the White House Press Room! Granted, having compared Pedro Pascal to his comic book counterpart, the casting and makeup departments did a good job at being faithful to the source material. But knowing that this was made in the late 2010s, and originally supposed to release in 2019, I could not help but make this comparison. And part of why I did not like this is because, and this may be a personal thing, it slightly ruined the escapism factor of the film. I’m not going to say whether I like Donald Trump, whether I dislike him. I am not here to get into politics. But Max Lord in “Wonder Woman 1984” feels like a Trump parody. The makeup department could have easily sprayed orange spray paint onto Pascal’s face and boom! Donald Trump impersonation!

I will say, there is one thing about “Wonder Woman 1984” that could be an improvement over the first one, and that is Gal Gadot’s performance. Gal Gadot, as much as I adore her as a person, as good-looking as she is, is not Meryl Streep. When it comes to “Wonder Woman,” she’s always looked the part, and she’s had good moments since her inception. Even though her character was the best part of “Batman v. Superman” for me, her acting ability was a far cry from what I saw out of Ben Affleck or Henry Cavill or Laurence Fishburne. When she shows up alongside the two titular characters in “Batman v. Superman,” she comes off as a badass, but there’s a line that she releases out of her mouth that feels like a first take. In “Wonder Woman 1984,” Gal Gadot has a commanding presence, she is charismatic, she is emotional, and occasionally witty. I liked Gadot’s performance in the original “Wonder Woman” because she did a good job at interpreting a goddess who has to adapt to a new normal, embracing the ups and downs along the way. But there were also signs that Gadot needed to work more on her craft and do a little more than be a pretty face in armor who can say words here and there. I will admit, her acting towards the end of “Wonder Woman” occasionally gave me chills, but I could tell that there was still work that needed to be done. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a sign that Gal Gadot is getting better, she deals with dialogue better than she used to, and her range is improving. I am looking forward to seeing Gal Gadot in “Death on the Nile” and if they come out with a “Wonder Woman 3,” count me in.

Gal Gadot’s performance is not the only positive here, because I will admit, even though I think Patty Jenkins and the other writers could have done a better job with the screenplay, she did alright with crafting the film. When it comes to her vision, I do not think it was as well represented as the original, but a crappy script can make that happen. Some of the cinematography is marvelous to look at. The visuals are just as good as the original film. Many scenes felt big and grand, and while I imagine some people will stick to watching “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max for now, if you feel safe going to a theater right now, do not rule that option out. There are some cool scenes that look great on the big screen. Speaking of things that feel grand, they got Hans Zimmer to do the score, which I was onboard with from the beginning. I saw the first few minutes of “Wonder Woman 1984” on YouTube, and from that moment, I was excited to hear the rest of the score, and it is really good. There was a scene where I was completely taken out of the movie and I almost did not care about what would happen, but the one saving grace in that moment was the music composed by Hans Zimmer. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has one of the best themes for an on-screen superhero, and I am glad that Zimmer got to work his magic to carry out his singular vision regarding it. I will likely listen to the soundtrack sometime in the future. The film had a passable ending. Granted there was some cringe surrounding it, but it good parts.

Too bad the movie’s boring, forgettable, and another big blow in 2020. F*ck. This. Year.

In the end, “Wonder Woman 1984” is a visually grand mess. Am I looking forward to what Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot have in store in the future? Yes. But does my anticipation take away from my thoughts on “Wonder Woman 1984?” No. I think “Wonder Woman 1984” is a gigantic misstep of a film. And the worst part is that it was not worth all the waits from the delays. I’ll be honest, and some of you may find this surprising, I would rather watch the live-action version of Disney’s “Mulan” again! Just to paint a picture of how much I did not like this film, let me just boil it down to a simple sentence. I did not have fun. Ironically, 2017’s “Wonder Woman” took place in World War I, where people are fighting, people are dying, times are desperate, but I managed to have fun. This sequel takes place in 1984. In real life, that year was much more lighthearted, at least from the perspective of the United States. Yes, there was the War on Drugs. AIDS broke out. Indira Gandhi was murdered. But there were plenty of big songs and movies that came out like “Jump” by Van Halen or “Ghostbusters.” People were having fun! “Wonder Woman 1984” manages to take a time that is significantly more fun than World War I, and makes it the most boring thing imaginable. The action sequences don’t save this movie. Gal Gadot’s improved performance doesn’t save this movie. A couple new and talented faces do not even save this travesty. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a gigantic disappointment, the worst film in the Detective Comics Extended Universe, and I am going to give it a 3/10.

“Wonder Woman 1984” is now playing in theaters wherever they are open. Due to the lockdown in the United Kingdom, the movie will debut on January 13th, 2021 on PVOD. If you live in the United States, you can also watch the film right now on HBO Max if you are a subscriber and it is available at no extra cost until the near end of January 2021, where it will finish it’s theatrical release, go to PVOD for a price, likely hit store shelves through DVD and Blu-ray, and eventually return to HBO and HBO Max sometime next year.

Thanks for reading this review! Who knew that in the SAME WEEKEND, we would get my least favorite Pixar film, and now, and perhaps on a more significant scale, my least favorite DCEU film! This year has kicked my ass, called me names, and made me eat dirt. We are approaching the end of 2020, THANK HEAVENS. So it is almost time for me to post my top 10 BEST movies of 2020 and my top 10 WORST movies of 2020. That will be up sometime early next year and I may have one or two more reviews coming your way if I can fit them in. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Wonder Woman 1984?” What did you think about it? Also, did you watch the movie in the theater? At home? Or both? Tell me about your experience! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

CORRECTION: When I said, “There was a scene where I was completely taken out of the movie and I almost did not care about what would happen, but the one saving grace in that moment was the music composed by Hans Zimmer,” I was wrong. Turns out the music in that scene was Adagio in D Minor, originally composed by John Murphy for the film “Sunshine,” which has been used in several marketing pieces for “Ready Player One,” the “2010 Winter Olympics,” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” I will not spoil where it plays for those who have not seen the movie.

Warner Bros.’ Entire 2021 Lineup Going to HBO Max: My Thoughts

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As of right now, I am working on a couple reviews for Scene Before, but I had to make this because it is too important of a topic to ignore. But before we get on with this, I have two new reviews coming soon. My first review will be for “The Last Vermeer,” starring Guy Pearce which is in theaters now. Also, I will be reviewing “Half Brothers,” which opens this weekend. I saw the film early, so look forward to my reviews on those two films.

One of the few streaming services I have chosen to invest time and money into is AT&T’s HBO Max. Said investment has been… okay. Despite a decent lineup, things did not get off to a great start. But when I saw one of the service’s first exclusive films, “An American Pickle,” I could tell that movie-wise, this service had potential.

…Then we got “The Witches.”

And “Superintelligence.” Oh, please die.

Although one hint of news that shocked the world back in November is that “Wonder Woman 1984” would come out this Christmas both in theaters and HBO Max at no additional cost to subscribers. While I would have loved for this film to get a traditional theatrical run, where it joins HBO Max a little less than a year after its release, I am personally glad we are getting the film to begin with, and that it is going to theaters at all. In a year where every other blockbuster aside from “Tenet” got delayed, it is nice to see a true experiential film come to the big screen wherever these screens are open. I was fine with this, because a lot of people are going to stay home for Christmas because they might think it is safe from bad weather and conditions, not to mention COVID-19, but you also have families and individuals who may want an excuse to leave the house. In fact, I’m a part of one of those families, because I already scored IMAX tickets to see “Wonder Woman 1984” with my father and sister on December 27th, two days after Christmas. There is no way that this new technique will stop me from going to the theater.

But now… We have an expansion of this idea.

What was going to be a one-time thing, is now going to be a repeated effort. Because throughout 2021, the entire Warner Brothers lineup will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. Now, keep in mind, if you plan to watch these movies on HBO Max, read the fine print.

These films, and this also includes “Wonder Woman 1984,” will stream on HBO Max for 31 days after its debut, at which point it disappears, finishes its run in theaters, goes to PVOD and physical media, and eventually returns to HBO Max and related channels. So just because these movies will come to HBO Max, does not automatically mean they will stay on HBO Max. Also, like “Wonder Woman 1984,” the Warner Bros. 2021 films will not supply an additional charge. If you are a subscriber, you do not have to pay extra.

Again, this is for the entire 2021 lineup, so this is a lot of films. Part of the list includes “Tom & Jerry,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Matrix 4,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights,” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.”

A lot of people who follow the industry claim that this is the nail in the coffin for movie theaters. As one who unapologetically loves the movie theater industry, that is a sentiment I have never wanted to hear. It is still only hours after this news, it is not even a full day yet, but I have had some time to gather my thoughts on this.

There is a part of me that absolutely loves this idea, and there’s a part of me that absolutely hates this idea. But just like certain events in “Tenet,” this full love or hate has not happened yet. Right now, my mind is MOST LIKELY somewhere in the middle.

For starters, we are in the middle of a pandemic. Whether you believe it or not, it is the truth. Yes, I continue to go to the movie theater during a pandemic. Some people may question why I do that. That is a personal choice, and I will say that if I were not doing this blog, I may not stop going, but I’d probably go less. But for those people who want to stay home, they have likely been in front of their television for extended periods watching content like “Tiger King,” “The Boys,” “Raised by Wolves,” “The Mandalorian,” and “The Queen’s Gambit.” There have been several television programs watched throughout this pandemic, because people have been stuck at home in need of something to do. There has been plenty of television, but the same cannot be said for movies. Early on we got animations like “Trolls: World Tour” and “Scoob!” on premium video on demand services. These were serviceable options for families. And yes, we’ve gotten more options like “The Witches” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” but if you looked at the 2020 cinematic calendar pre-pandemic, you’d know that these two films probably would not crack the top 10 biggest films of 2020 list. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a perfect example of a big movie that will reach a wide audience. Comic book fans, families, women, and people who want to gaze at Gal Gadot for a couple hours. Admit it, come on.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 04: Gal Gadot attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

You know you love her.

It’s Christmastime, families are together, even if it is in smaller groups, and they might want something to do. This is a great idea for consumer choice. If you want to stay home, or if regulations require you to remain at home, HBO Max is a great idea. Otherwise, it would not be a bad idea to experience “Wonder Woman 1984” the way in which director Patty Jenkins likely intended.

One reality that is becoming increasingly likely is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel regarding COVID-19. The answer as to when precisely the COVID-19 pandemic will end is a different story. We already have multiple vaccine candidates from outlets including Pfizer and Moderna. As to when they will be distributed to everyone, that is a mystery. Cases around the world are spiraling out of control, and humanity’s habits over the winter will likely determine whether we see a sharp increase or decrease in cases and deaths. So in a way, I understand Warner Brothers for wanting to cater to all markets at this time. But at this point, I think they are putting a lot of eggs into the HBO Max basket, and I honestly wonder if their investment will pay off. Having “Wonder Woman 1984” on the HBO Max service is a great way to get a bunch of new subscribers, and having new big movies every other week will only keep said subscriber base growing. However, this is only me theorizing at this point, because we have not seen how “Wonder Woman 1984” has done yet. Because I believe it is inevitable that “Wonder Woman 1984” will make less money at the box office than its predecessor. But how much less is another question. I do believe it will make at least $100 million worldwide. There are enough theaters open to warrant such returns, even with major areas such as Los Angeles county in California unlikely to fully reopen anytime soon. Despite how some will claim that “Tenet” is a movie *made for theaters*, which having seen it, it definitely is, “Wonder Woman 1984” is likely going to reach a wider demographic.

I should also point out, that even if the movie does not do well in the United States for whatever reason, not every country has HBO Max, so that might prompt more people to go the theater. But let’s talk about that. Because when this unprecedented release idea was announced solely for “Wonder Woman 1984,” chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark announced they were onboard. This is despite some outrage at a deal made earlier this year between AMC and Universal Pictures that allow their movies to play within a shortened theatrical window, at which point they make an early streaming debut.

Guess what? AMC does not approve. Here’s some words from the current CEO of AMC Theatres, Adam Aron.

“These coronavirus-impacted times are uncharted waters for all of us, which is why AMC signed on to an HBO Max exception to customary practices for one film only, Wonder Woman 1984, being released by Warner Brothers at Christmas when the pandemic appears that it will be at its height. However, Warner now hopes to do this for all their 2021 theatrical movies, despite the likelihood that with vaccines right around the corner the theatre business is expected to recover. Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business.

We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject. As this issue gets sorted out, we are nonetheless encouraged that vaccines protecting society at large against the coronavirus are very much at hand. So, it is our expectation that moviegoers soon will be able once again to delight in coming to our theatres without any worry — viewing the world’s best movies safely in our big seats, with our big sound and on our big screens.

Just to remind you, this is the same company that less than half a year ago made an asinine deal allowing Universal to avoid following the 90 day theatrical window. And sure, this deal may work right now with everything going on, but if we are to return to normalcy, this may not be finest policy to put in place. At this point I applaud AMC because not only does this go against the terms of the deal they made, but this new deal could take away a lot of money that could potentially go towards ticket sales that benefit both the studio and the theater to a degree. This will take away sales on concessions like popcorn and soda, which is where cinemas typically make their profits. In a way, I am a bit infuriated that despite Warnermedia’s previously announced commitment to theaters, they are more concerned about getting numbers on HBO Max.

And I get it, HBO Max, while its launch was not a complete failure, said launch was not necessarily a success either. The service was a bit laggy, they could not get the “Friends” reunion going, in fact they still have not been able to. I’ll also mention that it started off without being available on two of the main platforms, Amazon Fire and Roku, which by the way, IT IS STILL NOT AVAILABLE ON ROKU! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! GET A DEAL STRAIGHTENED OUT! I do not use Roku that much, but a lot of people do! Do the deal for them!

Right now, HBO Max has 38 million subscribers. While that is more than Hulu and Peacock, it is significantly less than Disney+, which honestly shocks me to no end. Because all Disney+ has done for main content since launch is “The Mandalorian” and almost nothing else! Right now, Disney+, which has turned a year old recently, has 73.7 million subscribers. One thing HBO Max has been doing right is delivering a bunch of new content both from the HBO channel and Max’s personal library. Apparently that might not be enough. Maybe bringing big movies like “Wonder Woman 1984” is going to help the service get a boost. Plus, unlike Disney’s previous effort with “Mulan,” HBO Max will not charge $29.99 to watch the film.

In the short term, increased subscriptions sound amazing. Bigger followings are always better. And while it is highly unlikely that “Wonder Woman 1984” will make $1 billion at the box office, imagine if this sticks around. Do you think we will ever see a billion dollar film ever again? I almost wonder if we’ll even see a film make half as much as that. This may start a slippery slope where movies are cheapened and less experiential. In a way, they become more like television. In this supposed future, movies are not made for theaters, they’re made for home. To me, movies are experiences. Some of my most iconic memories have been through watching movies at the theater, and even though I can have fun watching a movie at home, the experience of doing so will likely fail to have a lasting impact. I may have dreaded every moment of watching “The Emoji Movie” in a theater, but at least some of the other people’s reactions were something to remember it by. I now get to remember just how much I hated that movie. Another good example, “Ghostbusters” 2016. I despise that film. More than most films if I have to be quite honest. But the 3D was incredible and even though the film itself was terrible, I at least still have the memory of going. If we have a future where all Warner Bros. movies go to HBO Max, we may simultaneously have a future where we watch one movie, digest it, then forget about it until we move onto the next thing.

So now I ask the big question, does this equate to the death of movie theaters? I cannot say yes. But I also cannot say no. I’ll bring in the overused phrase, it’s 2020, anything can happen. But more importantly, I do not know whether Warner Bros. is going to stick to this plan. After all, when the biggest movie theater chain in the United States arrogantly refuses these terms, that may be a sign that Warner Bros. may want to reconsider their actions.

Also, let me just say on a personal note, that one of my biggest aspirations in my life is to make a film for everyone to see together on the big screen. Either as a writer, director, producer, or a combination of those things. With an uncertain future ahead, if more people continue to stay home, and there is a greater studio effort to do duel releases or skip theaters, my dream may be dead. This is a personal aspiration, but I thought I would let you all know. The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled a lot. But I outright refuse to let it cancel my dreams.

Homer At The Movies GIF - Movie MovieTheater Sexting - Discover & Share GIFs

But hey, if this new deal potentially means less people in theaters… That means less morons on their phones! There’s a silver lining to everything!

Let me be frank here, of all the studios operating today, Warner Brothers is arguably my favorite. When it comes to their older content, their library is enormous, while also maintaining a sense of quality. They have a steady relationship with some talented directors including Christopher Nolan, Patty Jenkins, Zack Snyder, and Todd Phillips. They own some of my favorite properties such as the DC Comics library, the LEGO movies, the “Lord of the Rings” saga, and “The Matrix.” Another reason why I love them is because they have shown they are committed to the theatrical experience, and when this pandemic started, I got a sense that they wanted to keep things the way they were when we had a return to normal, or at least a semblance of that.

Just because I unapologetically adore Warner Brothers, does not mean I cannot be honest. This HBO Max move is kind of scary. Movie theaters have shown they have taken enough pain in the last number of months. I see a recovery in 2021, but there is also a chance that the results of this deal, if it continues, could be cataclysmic for the exhibition industry. This eliminates many jobs, ends livelihoods, and destroys the fabric of many communities. I would love to see a future where moviegoing returns and we can enjoy it the way we did in 2019, but I do not think we can get there if we put a bunch of big movies onto streaming, even if they are in theaters. Admittedly, this is better than what Disney+ is doing with “Soul,” which is making it an exclusive on their service and nowhere else, but it is still kind of frightening as one who hopes to make movies one day.

Movies are not dead, nor are cinemas. But we live in a world where people are itching to get back to concerts, comedy clubs, and sporting events. If we can get those back with enough positive progress, I hope we can do the same for the moviegoing experience. When I saw “Wonder Woman” at a local AMC cinema back on opening Thursday in 2017, I was floored by the fact that Gal Gadot was able to carry such a big, epic, and most importantly, theatrical adventure from start to finish. That memory will stay with me until the end of time, and as we approach “Wonder Woman 1984,” I hope I will have an experience similar to three years ago, and I hope other viewers will get a significant feeling out of their experience as well.

Thanks for reading this post! By the way, just a reminder that “Wonder Woman 1984” will be available on HBO Max for free as long as you’re subscribed starting Christmas Day. However, if you want to leave the house, the film will be available wherever theaters are open. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the HBO Max and theatrical duel release idea for the entirety of Warner Brothers’ 2021 lineup? Mine are quite mixed, but I am also curious to see how “Wonder Woman 1984” will do on HBO Max and the box office, as it may play a factor into making up my mind. Are you planning to watch “Wonder Woman 1984?” If so, where? At home? At the cinema? If you are watching at the cinema, which one are you going to? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018): The Emoji Movie For Intellectuals

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“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is directed by Phil Johnston (Zootopia, The Brothers Grimsby) and Rich Moore (The Simpsons, Futurama) and stars John C. Reilly (Guardians of the Galaxy, Kong: Skull Island), Sarah Silverman (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Bob’s Burgers), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Keeping Up with the Joneses), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Jane Lynch (Hollywood Game Night, Glee), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and Ed O’Neill (Modern Family, Finding Dory). This movie is the sequel to Disney’s 2012 animated hit “Wreck-It Ralph.” On this second go around, in a situation which involves saving Vanellope’s game, “Sugar Rush,” Ralph and Vanellope decide to go on an adventure to the Internet. Throughout the journey we experience some mishaps, attempts at humor, and unfortunately, product placement. But you know, it could be worse, it could be “The Emoji Movie.” We’ll get to that eventually.

Going into “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” I didn’t have truly high expectations from the marketing. As a matter of fact, part of me thought the marketing just plain sucked. The first teaser trailer left me feeling icky. Then again it might really be due to how much I can’t stand the Flo Rida song “Good Feeling.” But who knows? Maybe the next trailer could have kicked total ass, but let me just say that it really did the opposite. Instead, the trailer made me hand my own ass right over to it. To me, once I saw the “Oh My Disney” portion of the trailer, it just really felt like a massive commercial for all the Disney properties. Disney! Disney propaganda! Bring the kids! Go to Disney World! Buy all of our stuff at the Disney store! Pretty soon, after we finish dismantling Fox, we’re gonna buy Lionsgate so that way we can own “The Hunger Games” and have Jennifer Lawrence be stuck as Katniss Everdeen til the day she dies! Oh yeah, we’re gonna reboot “Twilight” too even though everyone knows it’s a complete and total waste of time. But hey! Teen girls! Get em’ in the theater! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! The last trailer however ended up giving me what I wanted. While the trailer is not like anything I’ve seen for say, “Ready Player One,” it definitely provided what could have been some solid ingredients for a proper “Wreck-It Ralph” installment.

Walking out of the movie, I gotta say, I’m shocked. This movie’s actually pretty great! There’s only one other movie this year that I’ve reacted similarly to, and that’s “Blockers.” It’s a movie with a less than stellar marketing campaign, a movie that a part of me thought was going to suck, and just something had I not been reviewing movies, I’d be more hesitant towards when it comes to spending my money at the cinema. It just so turns out that “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a solid sequel, continuing the journeys of the characters many viewers knew and loved since the first installment, delivering a story that is just about as enjoyable as its predecessor. And in reality, it is a better version of “The Emoji Movie.”

For those of you who have watched “The Emoji Movie” or know what it is, you’d be aware that it takes place inside a cell phone, where all of the Emojis live. They live in a town called Textopolis and their life is basically being processed and sent through texts. Here in “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” we start off in the same little arcade people know from the first movie, where all of the video game characters live in harmony. As viewers probably know, their daily lives involve being the very characters they were designed to be. Ralph is the continuous building wrecker, Felix is the neverending building fixer, Vanellope is the nonstop racer, and Pac-Man… eats dots. Because that’s what yellow circles do apparently. Then boom! A little bit of chaos goes down, Vanellope’s game, “Sugar Rush,” has to be unplugged because the wheel breaks down. However, Ralph is Vanellope’s best friend, and we all know, best friends are supposed to be there for each other. So Ralph decides it would be a good idea to take a journey alongside Vanellope into the Internet to save her game. The world of the Internet in this movie almost reminds me of the space resort in Wall-E, everything just feels so sleek and it’s all very populated. It’s like a city that receives no pollution. You know, unless you look hard enough. The chemistry between Ralph and Vanellope truly shines in “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and you can definitely tell they are best friends. This movie even tries to show the power of friendship and how unbreakable of a bond one can have with another person and I’d say the execution of that message is incredibly well done.

Moving away from our leads, let’s talk about one standout new character named Shank. She’s voiced by Gal Gadot and happens to be a street racer in a popular computer game. There’s this one game Ralph and Vanellope come across by the name of “Slaughter Race,” that’s where they meet this character. Seeing her and the gang who she happens to know turned out to be a bigger highlight in this film. Also, when they first meet her, there’s actually a very entertaining chase scene. Look out for it.

Speaking of new, let’s talk about something very old. Disney. I mentioned earlier that one of the trailers to “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was off-putting to me because it has an overload of Disney references. It just felt like a cheap way of pointing out how amazing Disney is. In reality, I think Disney’s kind of overrated. Sure, they own a lot of things I like, but there’s going to be a point where they ruin everything I love. They already partially ruined “Star Wars” for me so there is that. This all starts out somewhat commercialized, but some of it is well executed, and partially realisitc. There is a point where we cut to someone in a comic con panel-like setting. And they ask this question that is the stereotypical version of a deep question that a comic book nerd would ask. That’s all the detail I’ll give related to that, because there’s something else that’s pretty cool in relation to what I just said, but that was a definite highlight.

Another highlight when it comes to this is the scene where we see all the Disney princesses together. I thought at first that this was going to be completely cringeworthy. It was actually brilliant. You know how certain shows on Fox actually make fun of their own network and others associated with it?

THE SIMPSONS
FOX NEWS HOST: “Welcome to Fox News– your voice for evil.” (The Simpsons)

AMERICAN DAD!
ROGER: “Sure, we don’t report the news, we make it. Accuracy is so time-consuming. Fiction is the new fact.”

FAMILY GUY
LOIS: Where’d you hear that?
CHRIS: Fox News.
LOIS: Then it’s a lie. Everything Fox News says is a lie.
CHRIS: But this one’s true mom, you saw it with your own eyes and then you reported it.
LOIS: Even true things, once said on Fox News, become lies.

FUTURAMA
TOUR GUIDE LADY: “To your right, you’ll see 30th Century Fox studios. Fox uses those search lights to blind pilots, then film the resulting plane crashes.”
*SEARCHLIGHT SPOTS PLANE, EVENTUALLY ALLOWING IT TO CRASH
BENDER: *snaps photo* Neat!

Yeah, this is basically the Disney princess scene in a nutshell. Or should I say part of it, because that’s the part that’s going for humor. The other part is a bit more serious and plays a part in Vanellope’s overall arch in the movie. I don’t want to get too much into it, but this movie manages to poke fun at the princesses for their constant need to sing, their desire for men as if the concept of lusting after a guy is their only path in life, and they even throw a little jab at Pixar. If you have ever seen the movie “Brave” you’d know that the main character is Merida (Kelly MacDonald). All of the other princesses have a voice that pretty much anyone (at least any English-speaking individual in the US) can understand. But “Brave” takes place in Scotland and I remember awhile back I was talking to my grandmother or someone else and they said that Scottish people are difficult to understand. This is what I imagine would be a perfect stereotype from perhaps my grandmother’s vision towards the Scottish. OK, whatever, maybe Merida actually said something in Gaelic (according to IMDb), but still, it’s hard to comprehend regardless of whatever standard we are talking about. As a joke, one of the princesses reminds us as an audience, “she’s from the other studio.”

I said we’ll get to the product placement, so you know what? Let’s go nuts. It’s not as blatant or annoying as “The Emoji Movie,” but it’s still a thing. There’s a whole segment that takes place in eBay which is actually very entertaining. In fact, I won’t go into complete detail, but if there is one company, aside from Disney, that this movie is a feature-length commercial for, it’s eBay. There’s a whole segment where we see Ralph and Vanellope bidding against a user in the real world, but they don’t know how eBay works. They think the objective is to bid high numbers and leave it at that. They don’t understand that in reality, you have to bid high, but you also have to be cautious of how high you go and occasionally ask yourself, “how high is too high?”. There’s also this one character called The Eboy, who to mt surprise was played by Sean Giambrone. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s the lead kid in ABC’s “The Goldbergs,” one of my favorite sitcoms on TV right now. Essentially, without spoiling the movie, it is a big fat commercial for eBay. Thankfully, it’s done brilliantly, and not many other brands are coming in to make me have a headache. There are some notable instances here and there from companies such as Amazon, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.

One surprise, considering YouTube, is the fact that it is not even in this movie. Think about it, Google, which owns YouTube, is getting a slice of the promotional cake, but YouTube is getting nothing but an attempt at humor. There is however a part of the movie that involves a fake video sharing site called Buzzztube. It is run by a girl named Yesss, played by Taraji P. Henson. The segment where we go through this happens to parody YouTube by saying things like “trends don’t last,” and “if you want to be popular, repeat whatever is popular.” Hey, Disney, that sounds familiar! To me, that’s one of those things that’s simply funny because it is true.

I don’t want to talk about too much more, because if I do, I’ll spoil some stuff that should be kept as secret. But there’s one thing about this movie that kind of surprised me. There are TWO end credit scenes. I guess having a random appearance from Marvel’s characters can technically make you qualify as a “Marvel movie.” Coincidentally, Stan Lee has a cameo in this film. RIP by the way.

In the end, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was a pretty fun time. It has its flaws, but they are extremely minor and don’t leave the positives in the dust. And, by the way, I’m a guy, I like adrenaline rush type of movies like “Point Break” or “Baby Driver,” but I will admit, there was a point or two in this film, where I almost felt like tearing up. I won’t get specific, but it’s true. Is this film BETTER than the original? I honestly don’t know. I said in the beginning that this is a solid sequel to a lovely original film, but to be honest, I have not watched the original “Wreck-It Ralph” from start to finish since 2013 so I don’t even know if I can give a completely valid opinion at this point. However, much like the first movie at this point, I’m going to give “Ralph Breaks the Internet” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that it is December, and my head is spinning. I have tons of plans for the month after this and 2019 as a whole. But before we get to that, since I have my countdowns for my best and worst films of the year coming up, there will be some movies I will be watching which have been released this year that might not end up being reviewed. Who knows? Maybe that’s a lie. But I’ve done this for the past couple of years so it is kind of my tradition now. Plus, December’s a big month for me in terms of reviewing blockbusters and Oscar-bait titles. I need to focus on those, because, ya know, priorities. Be sure to follow Scene Before using your email or WordPress account that way you can stay tuned for more great content that unfortunately, breaks the internet less than an irrelevant woman’s sex tape. I want to know, did you see “Ralph Breaks the Internet?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your preferred choice between the “Wreck-It Ralph” movies? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Henry Cavill (Superman) OUT of DC Extended Universe (Or is he?)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! The bird is getting crashed by the plane! Today we are going to discuss some of the most shocking movie news I’ve ever witnessed this year! When it comes to comic book movies, we’ve had our fair share of standouts this year when it comes to news. We’ve gotten news about records being broken by “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” James Gunn, director of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” had his Disney business relationship severed over nasty tweets, thus making him unable to direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” The Russo Brothers, the directors behind “Avengers: Infinity War,” essentially sent out a reminder that spoiling the movie is wrong and is just as bad as committing murder. We also received word that both “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and “The New Mutants” were pushed back from their original release dates. While “Dark Phoenix” is a somewhat understandable pushback, the one for “The New Mutants” is basically an electric shock and a half, moving from April of this year to August of next year!

Aside from the James Gunn situation, this news we are going to talk about may be the most shocking comic book movie related news I have to take on this very year. Henry Cavill, otherwise known as the star of 2013’s “Man of Steel,” which was essentially THE KICKSTARTER of the Detective Comics Extended Universe, has apparently parted ways with Warner Brothers and will no longer appear in any of the future DC films as Superman.

Before we go any further, there’s probably a spot open in the DC Extended Universe for a role, so I gotta ask, Nicolas Cage, what are you waiting for?! You had a chance to play Superman before and that didn’t work out! This is a second chance for you! Take it while it’s here!

Oh yeah, right, this happened. Still, you can play a LIVE-ACTION Superman!

Nevertheless, to me, this news is something that didn’t even cross my mind. Out of everyone that would slip away from the Detective Comics Extended Universe, I didn’t think Cavill would be the last one. Maybe Amy Adams, maybe Laurence Fishburne, maybe Ben Affleck (in fact at this point, it’s quite possible he’s completely out), all those people would consider parting ways or exit the DC Extended Universe before Cavill. I mean, it”s pretty certain that folks like Gal Gadot want to stay. I thought Cavill had no problem with staying in a franchise like this. It certainly pays well, he gets to be an iconic character, and it’ll definitely help with name recognition. I mean, if he wasn’t Superman, there’s a chance I’d probably have no idea who this guy was once I saw “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” This almost sounds like something you’d hear about a maniac who insults women becoming president. But then you look at the source where this pretty much all started, The Hollywood Reporter.

Henry Cavill Out as Superman Amid Warner Bros.’ DC Universe Shake-Up (Exclusive)

According to the article, Warner Brothers, the studio behind all of the movies in the DCEU, has been making attempts to enlist Cavill to make a cameo appearance in the upcoming Zachary Levi-lead “Shazam” set to release in 2019. However, that is not happening, and when it comes to Cavill’s representatives WME (William Morris Endeavor) and the studio, the two sides were in talks and it basically lead to the end of Cavill’s Superman appearances.

So when that “Justice League” sequel comes around, not only will Cavill’s facial hair be erased, but so will his entire body.

The article goes on to state that Warner is shifting its gears towards making a “Supergirl” movie, which will focus on a teen heroine. Because ya know, we need some buildup toward “Batgirl v. Supergirl: Dawn of Injustice: Gods Among Us.”

One quote from the article states the following: “Superman is like James Bond, and after a certain run you have to look at new actors.” Funny enough, Daniel Craig is supposed to be doing his final “Bond” movie. So if Henry Cavill becomes James Bond, which honestly would be my preferred pick for the next Bond other than maybe Tom Hiddleston, it would be interesting to see a trade in roles between him and Daniel Craig. I doubt Craig wants to be the next Man of Steel, and I never really imagined him as such a characater, but nevertheless. I should also mention that Cavill was the runner-up to play Bond before the crew ultimately decided on Daniel Craig.

I will also point out that Henry Cavill does have another recently announced commitment. Netflix has decided to do a series on “The Witcher.” Cavill will be playing Geralt of Rivia. This started out as a series of short stories and novels, eventually leading to tabletop games, video games, a film, and a TV series separate from this one we’re currently discussing. Based on what I’m reading from IMDb, there’s eight episodes listed and they’ll be released in 2019. From what I’m imagining, this is essentially Netflix trying to start their own “Game of Thrones.”

Other than that, Cavill actually recently completed a project that has yet to be released, specifically “Nomis,” where he will star alongside Alexandria Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Baywatch) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle).

View this post on Instagram

Today was exciting #Superman

A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on

And as if this situation couldn’t get any more insane, I have a couple things I need to spit out. For one thing, Henry Cavill posted a video on his Instagram some time after this was announced of him wearing a shirt that said “Krypton Lifting Team,” as he slowly presents his own Superman action figure, all the while some dog-bark version of “The Blue Danube” happens to be playing. He lifts it up very slowly and brings it back down at the same pace. I have a ton of questions, so let’s start with question one.

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

One of the best parts of this post is what’s being said in it, specifically, “Today was exciting.” So… What does that mean? Is this all a joke? Is this to get into the Halloween spirit and scare all the DC fans out there? Are you excited to exit the DCEU? Are you disappointed because you didn’t make this decision on your own? I don’t understand anything about this! Is the shirt a joke? Are you trying to just make a video for fun where you’re pretending to lift weights and instead of lifting a weight you happen to lift a Superman action figure?! I don’t understand!

So let’s move on from the actor and focus on the studio once again, specifically Warner Brothers. Here’s what a Warner Brothers spokesperson said about this s*itshow after the publication of the story.

“We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.”

I have something to ask.

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

When I was younger, I’ve always been asked “yes” or “no” questions, and apparently for some reason my answers may not have been valid enough for said questions. In this case, this does not answer the question of whether or not Henry Cavill is out as Superman. Is Henry Cavill Superman? That’s the question we want answered!

This news is not only shocking, not only big, but overall it just makes me question a number of things. Is Warner going to hit the reset button on the entire DC Universe? If so, will this cancel movies like “Wonder Woman 1984?” What is humanity? What is the meaning of life? And most importantly, despite the title of the post, IS HENRY CAVILL STILL SUPERMAN?!

If you say yes, it’s all cool, we can move on with our lives. If you say no, then I do recommend probably continuing this current DCEU, personally because I’m curious to see where it goes. And if you do need another person to play Superman, allow me to throw out a few suggestions.

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street, Titanic)
Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan, True Blood)
Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Mission: Impossible)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ex Machina)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Jupiter Ascending)
Toby Kebbell (The Hurricane Heist, Warcraft)

And just for the fun of it, Nicolas Cage (Raising Arizona, The Wicker Man).

And just for the ABSOLUTE fun of it, Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky).

These suggestions are sort of on the fly, so bear with me. I almost put down Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Game Night) but I don’t know how much interest he’d have doing a superhero movie.

And sticking with the idea of how much this news honestly shocked me, this does sound like something you’d hear on that one day in the year. Specifically, April Fools Day, the holiday that celebrates being a total dick to those you know. This honestly makes me wonder something, and I guess this kind of falls in the hot take category. Is this actually a joke? The Hollywood Reporter is said to be one of the most credible sources in the entertainment industry. They’ve been in operation for almost ninety years. Maybe they wanted to do something for fun where they could create their own fake news. I legit think this is actually happening, either that or I am just really hoping it’s happening. Seriously though,

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

Thanks for reading this post! I just recently bought “12 Strong” on Blu-ray, so a review of that might be coming rather soon, and also stay tuned for my review for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which will kick off my series of space movie reviews in preparation for “First Man,” which is set to release in October. There’s no official date for when I’m going to post such a review, but the latest it’ll be delivered is September 27th. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your thoughts on Henry Cavill hanging up the cape as Supes? Or, who do you think should replace him? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

What the Heck is Up With Justice League (2017)? *PART 2*

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last November, I asked a question to the world. What the heck is up with “Justice League?” I made a post with that title where I talk about various incidents that have been going on involving the crew of the then upcoming “Justice League” movie. To view this post, click the link below!

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)?: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/what-the-heck-is-up-with-justice-league-2017/

Although before we go any further with our current post I just want to get something out. Why are you here today on the Internet? I figured it was because you wanted to waste some time and avoid cleaning your room. Come on now! Your mother’s about to walk in and she’s gonna freak out! Well, allow me to once again introduce, Genevieve and Paul. Check out some earlier posts for less recent introductions. They are on the Internet for multiple reasons, but one of them is to tell the story leading up to their conception. The explanation of the conception journey is gone over in a little thing I like to call “What The IVF?.”

“WTIVF?” is a new series on YouTube where Genevieve and Paul go through the struggle of having a kid. The struggle being, well, making a kid. Each episode features a new adventure between the two where they encounter unfortunate realities in sex, testing, math, examinations, costs, and needle injections that end up hurting harder than a simple step on a LEGO brick! The video you see up above is the third episode in the series. The past two have been sexy, but now things are getting awkward! Paul is on a mission for science, but he has no idea what he’s in for! If you enjoy this video, be sure to like it, share it, subscribe to the “WTIVF?” channel, hit the notification bell, leave a comment, all that jazz! I’ll post links down below to their social media profiles including their YouTube, so check em out and tell them that Jack Drees sent ya over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

Judging by the title of this post, you might be thinking, “What crazy hijinks is being cooked up this time?” Well, I can tell you. This post may be asking what the heck is up with “Justice League,” but it is also going to be asking what the heck is up with the Detective Comics Extended Universe? As you may know, “Justice League” is the fifth movie in the DCEU. It takes all your favorite DC superheroes and places em all together in one movie. Together, they join forces and try to take down the evil Steppenwolf. I reviewed “Justice League” almost a week after it came out and if some of you read it, some of you may call that the real part 2 to this series, but that’s not the main focus of the post. My very own thoughts were more important. Whatever the heck is going on does get a load of attention, but my main intention was to review the movie. Here however, we need to about the utter s*it that’s being happening lately.

As mentioned in my review, “Justice League” made a combined domestic and international total of $278.8 million on its opening weekend. While that is certainly a lot of money for a film in general, it’s kind of underwhelming if your film is called “Justice League.” This whole topic gets crazier when you realize that “Thor: Ragnarok,” which was out two weeks prior to “Justice League,” made so much more on its opening weekend worldwide (approx. $427 million). “Thor: Ragnarok” is an action-comedy that has less superheroes and less money put into it. Having seen both movies, I will even say that PERSONALLY, “Justice League” is the better movie. And I might be a bit generous when I say that because I now own the 4K and I rewatched it. Some of the effects look like they were from a college student’s film. I had believe it or not, a better time watching “Justice League” than I did watching “Thor: Ragnarok,” but it doesn’t mean I can’t point out its flaws.

I will also have you know that I paid more money to see “Justice League” in the theater than I did when I went to see “Thor: Ragnarok,” and I brought more people with me to see it. I went with a companion to see “Thor: Ragnarok” on opening weekend, and they ended up going another time in the future with their family. I didn’t, but adding that in, I guess some logical sense can be made behind “Thor: Ragnarok’s” overall total. Not to mention, they didn’t go see “Justice League.” Although I will say that I went with one more person to see “Justice League” than I did for “Thor: Ragnarok” and to my knowledge, neither of them have seen “Thor: Ragnarok.”

With that being said, that basically covers the extremely early events of “Justice League” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” and now, both theatrical runs have lead up to this point. I now have a 4K Ultra HD Best Buy exclusive steelbook for “Justice League” and I don’t have one copy of “Thor: Ragnarok.” One week after the “Justice League” movie came out on 4K and other home video formats such as Blu-ray and DVD, I found out some news that Marvel may be popping drinks over, and news that’s leaving DC rolling their eyes. “Thor: Ragnarok” made a total of $853,968,214 right now. “Justice League” just finished its theatrical run, and its total came out to $657,924,295. Keep in mind, that recently mentioned number, is objectively, a lot of money. Although judging the two movies and what they contain, the idea of a “Justice League” movie making as much as money as it did against a punier movie such as “Thor: Ragnarok” is what’s called a surprise and a f*cking half!

My personal opinion on both films aside, “Justice League,” according to many people, was not as good as it could, would, and should have been. When you take the movie and put it in that sort of viewpoint, it can be said that “Justice League’s” total against “Thor: Ragnarok” is valid, but part of me wonders what this means overall for the DCEU. Let’s take a look at the worldwide totals for every movie, including “Justice League,” released in the DCEU thus far.

MAN OF STEEL: $668,045,518
BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE: $873,634,919
SUICIDE SQUAD: $746,846,894
WONDER WOMAN: $821,847,012
JUSTICE LEAGUE: $657,924,295

This does beg a question, where does the DCEU go from here?

The DCEU is obviously going to have to make some choices from here on out. After all, with all the popularity Marvel is getting at this point, it’s getting harder and harder each and every day to compete with them.

One thing I’ve heard as a suggestion is the possibility to reboot. I do think this is a good idea, but also a bad one. Let’s start with the positives.

If you reboot, you have an opportunity to reorganize and readjust your vision to only make POSITIVE products. Let’s face it, there are numerous souls who weren’t satisfied with various DC films. The lack of satisfaction towards those films could have lead to the downfall of “Justice League.” Also, I usually try to promote movies and support them for being different, but one thing that’s an odd choice for DC, is that barely any of the heroes who happen to be in the Justice League thus far, had their own movie released prior to “Justice League.” Superman had one, Batman had one, Wonder Woman also had one, but not The Flash, Aquaman, or Cyborg. Sure, you can also make the point that not every Marvel superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had their own film released before “The Avengers.” Although judging by the time, did you really think putting out a Hawkeye film before “The Avengers” would have gotten everyone flocking to the theater? Everyone would probably go see it now, including me even though I think Hawkeye’s as useless as a rock paper scissors match to determine what time it is. I will say however in DC’s defense when it comes to making money, forming the Justice League and actually putting out that movie prior to releasing standalone films might be an interesting strategy to get people who liked seeing certain heroes in “Justice League” in their own films. That way, instead of going to see “Justice League” only once after maybe ignoring some prior installments, they have some awareness of a character existing in the universe and their existence intrigues them enough to go see their standalone film. Maybe, just maybe, to fully determine the idea of this reboot thingy, we should wait and see what “Aquaman” makes at the box office. Besides, it’s not like Marvel didn’t do something like this before. They briefly introduced Black Panther and Spider-Man in “Captain America: Civil War” and the two went onto getting successful standalone movies down the road. Plus, another thing that keeps coming to my attention is that DC is constantly announcing project after project, but these projects never seem to go anywhere. Marvel seems to maintain a steady pace and seems to focus on the present. They sprinkle in some ideas about what can be done in the future, but they don’t seem to have the clutter that DC has. This is the great thing about Marvel president Kevin Feige. The DCEU always seems to be scrambling and doesn’t really know where to go next, but Marvel always has a path. Now let’s talk about something I usually consider a positive, but point out its flaws.

My usual philosophy when it comes to movie-making is that someone’s vision should be fulfilled, and when it comes to that, I’m mainly talking about the vision of the director. When it comes to Marvel, you can see that the directors of those films unleash what they view as figments of their own imagination, and they ultimately have a vision of where their movie should start and where their movie should finish. But the thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that the visions of the director, doesn’t play as big of a part in the series as much as producer Kevin Feige’s. If you look at all the Marvel movies, they all don’t feel like they’re in their own little area. While they technically are, they all have a tone, story, and feel that reminds you they’re in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC’s movies, when it comes to directing, come off as a bunch of people who try to make their own food, they bring it to a big banquet and see who takes it or considers it the best food of all. If you compare the styles of Zack Snyder and Patty Jenkins, you might notice that their movies are written a bit differently, tonally speaking they’re not exactly similar, and they seem like a movie only they or a few other people would make for themselves. I’m not against them having their own thing for now, but if this universe gets to a point where a major storyline plays in future films, it’s gonna have to get more collaborative.

Now let’s talk about one big con when it comes to rebooting. Who are gonna play the roles of the heroes? Well, if they’re gonna do an all new universe with the same exact heroes that have been introduced thus far, I do think they should recast Christian Bale as Batman, but separate it from the “Dark Knight” trilogy universe. Although since that’s probably unlikely to happen, I’ll be a bit more realistic.

BATMAN: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Stronger)
SUPERMAN: Wes Bentley (Interstellar, The Hunger Games)
WONDER WOMAN: Deepika Padukone (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Chennai Express)
THE FLASH: Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar, Call Me by Your Name)
AQUAMAN: Whatever bloody person has long blonde hair or can put on a blonde wig, this one’s really freakin’ hard. Or if someone can find Patrick Swayze’s ghost that would work too.
CYBORG: Dexter Darden (The Maze Runner, Joyful Noise)

While you can reboot, recast, and therefore start something new and fresh, it’s going to affect the current universe’s positives. Not only do we have a surprisingly great Batman (Ben Affleck), one that’s actually beloved by moviegoers and comic book fans, but we also have a fantastic Wonder Woman. Some people may beg to differ, but I personally thought Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is what made “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” worth watching. Not Batman, not Superman, but once I walked out of the theater, I thought Wonder Woman was the s*it. And no, not because she was sexy. Although that’s bonus points. To prove to you how much I truly loved Wonder Woman in that movie, I went to Rhode Island Comic Con in 2016 and she was there. I stood in a line for five hours JUST to meet her and get an autograph. It was a fast paced line, but I did get to talk to her. She was pregnant at the time so I took a moment to congratulate her, and she thanked me. Not only did I love Wonder Woman as a character in this universe, but people, mainly girls, were hyping up the standalone “Wonder Woman” film like crazy. I was too, many people were skeptical of how it would turn out, but I knew this was going to be something special just based on how the character was portrayed in “Batman v. Superman.” And judging by many people’s opinions, it was. I might even think that the standalone “Wonder Woman” film, might even be better to me on a personal level than a gigantic number of the MCU films. If you reboot, you’ll lose a short-lived legacy of Gal Gadot inspiring girls all over and if the Wonder Woman who replaces Gadot doesn’t live up to her, some folks are going to be disappointed. It’s not to say that rebooting can’t work. Batman’s been rebooted multiple times and people had not much of a problem behind it for the most part and Spider-Man’s recently been rebooted for the MCU and people seem to like that. Although if this reboots, it needs to follow a collaborative path or something. Don’t copy Marvel beat for beat, otherwise you’re just an imitator. Develop your own path, and have people follow it. Hire qualified directors and writers, perhaps ones with lots of experience, and despite having a path to follow, allow directors and writers to add their own flare to the table. Have a collaborative effort while still promoting imagination.

I honestly don’t want the DCEU to end and reboot. But based on all the announcements that’s been going on lately and the total confusion-fest that some call news, it looks like it’s either heading that way, there’s gonna be another DC movie universe going on at the same time, or something else that I don’t even know at this point due to an increasing headache I’m getting from looking at all of this! At this point! I should change the name of this post to “WHAT THE FLYING F*CK IS UP WITH JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)?!” When it comes to news, this is the Trump administration of movie news. A lot comes out and it’s sometimes just bonkers. I’m a DCEU defender, I know it’s not been great thus far, but I do see potential if the right people are hired to do each job, a more collaborative effort is put into each product, and while I don’t want each movie to be the same, I want the movies to feel like they know they’re in the proper series. I don’t want a reboot, some others seem to feel the opposite way of me, but this is where I stand. Although before we put this post to rest, I’ll say something that can get some people talking. “Black Panther” has been out for weeks now, but I’ll say, the movie’s been out for a month, and it already passed above the $1 billion mark. Its current worldwide total is at $1,211,644,236. Years ago, if some Gandalf-like wizard came out of a portal and told you that “Black Panther” will be out for a matter of days, and it will make more money than a very recent “Justice League” movie, you’d laugh your ass off. Am I right?!

So I want to know, why do you think “Justice League” made as much money as it did? What do you think the future for the DCEU will be? There are future movies coming out such as “Aquaman,” “Shazam,” “Flashpoint,” and “Wonder Woman 2.” The fate of these films may be uncertain and the fate of the DCEU may depend on the reception and box office returns of these installments, so let’s hope the results are positive! Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I’ll have my review of “Tomb Raider” starring Alicia Vikander. I went to see the movie hours ago, and I have quite a bit of things to say about it. Also, I can assure that by the end of the month I will have my review up for “Mission: Impossible” starring Tom Cruise to kick off my “Mission: Impossible” review series. Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Justice League (2017): What Does This Mean for the DCEU? (PLUS TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE’S BOX OFFICE RETURN)

Before we get into my review for “Justice League,” let me remind you that the buildup for this movie has been objectively crazy. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of DC, you’re anti-DC, you’re a fan of Marvel, or you just aren’t into movies based on comic books, you might as well agree with me on how bonkers this movie’s buildup truly is. I cover all of that including the director change, the sexually suggestive events, the date of the review embargo lift, all in another post I’ve done titled “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)?” If you want to check that out, click the link down below and that’ll take you to that post and you can discover the complete insanity of “Justice League’s” buildup.

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)?: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/what-the-heck-is-up-with-justice-league-2017/

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“Justice League” is directed Zack Snyder (300, Watchman) and stars Ben Affleck (The Town, Argo), Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Criminal), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian), Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Ray Fisher as the members of the league established in the title. Batman and Wonder Woman try to unite a bunch of beings with superpowers in order to defeat the evil Steppenwolf.

*MAJOR BOX OFFICE RANT AHEAD, IF UNINTERESTED, GO TO NEXT PARAGRAPH*

Before we actually go any further, part of me is glad that I’m not seeing this film on opening weekend. This is because I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend. If I were to see this on opening weekend, I would have. However it didn’t fit into the schedule of those who I was going to see this with. I will say this, if you have read the post I recently mentioned, you may recall I said essentially Marvel does better at the box office compared to DC, and to show that, I went through the results of 2016 comparing DC’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” with Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.” To be fair, those movies had somewhat similar concepts, although “Batman v. Superman” is something that comic book junkies have been waiting to see on the big screen for years. Not to mention, “Batman v. Superman” released first. The thing I said must have brought more people into the theater has to have been the difference in tone and the reviews regarding the movie. Just look at Rotten Tomatoes! The box office results for both movies ended up being pretty high. I wouldn’t say they’re close, but it doesn’t mean they’re not high. Although I will say “Batman v. Superman” failed to make over $1 billion overall unlike “Captain America: Civil War.” Now fast forward to November 2017. This month, two big superhero movies come out. “Thor: Ragnarok” is scheduled to come out November 3rd, two weeks prior to “Justice League,” which comes out November 17th. So “Thor: Ragnarok” releases, and as expected, it won the box office on its opening weekend. The total “Thor: Ragnarok” earned on said weekend is around $427 million. In just a week, the movie has flown past $500 million. This is over $50 million greater than the combined total the original “Thor” made DURING ITS ENTIRE RUN! Also, just recently, specifically November 19th, reports came in that “Thor: Ragnarok” has now reached $739.2 million at the box office! This report suggests that “Thor: Ragnarok” has also made more money than “Thor: The Dark World” in just a couple of weeks! Also a little thing to keep in mind, the budget for “Thor: Ragnarok” was estimated to be $180 million. Suggesting that “Thor: Ragnarok” made its budget back on opening weekend. As for “Justice League,” that movie had an estimated budget of $300 million. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it back. Some of you might be thinking, did they at least make as much as “Thor: Ragnarok?” Hate to point this out to you, but if you’ve been reading this whole paragraph, that’s a stupid question, because I said “I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend,” so if that doesn’t give you any hints I don’t know what will. Overall, the box office total is considerably high, but comparing it to a film like “The Avengers” would be like comparing the heights of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Both are high when you look at them, but compared to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State is a whole new level of high. The specific worldwide total for “The Avengers” turned out to be $392.5 million dollars on the first weekend whereas this year’s “Justice League” came out to $278.8 million. “The Avengers,” a movie whose budget is estimated to have been $220 million, made its budget back on its opening weekend. Yes, that’s a shorter total, but I’m leaving that in. Interestingly, “Justice League” happened to make more overseas than “The Avengers” ($185.5 million vs. $185.1 million). Going off of “The Avengers,” just think about this. A technical action-comedy starring Chris Hemsworth as a short haired Thor, made more on opening weekend than “Justice League,” which has Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash. Strange, isn’t it? When it comes to international openings, this takes the #20 spot for the top openings in that category and when it comes to the worldwide rankings, this happens to be in the top 25 worldwide openings of all time. In reality, $278.8 million is a lot of money for a movie to make over a single weekend, although with a movie like this, it’s a tad odd that it wouldn’t end up making more.

Can somebody drop a coconut on my head? I think I’m going f*cking insane!

So, where was I? Oh yeah right, I have a whole review to do! This just goes to show you the absolute s*itshow this movie is regardless of my personal thoughts. Going into this film, I had similar feelings as I did with “Thor: Ragnarok.” Although with this particular movie there happened to be some differences. Like “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League” had me going in with mixed thoughts. I honestly thought the trailers for this movie were better, although the TV spot marketing, at least from my memory, was barely noticeable. Visually, I thought this movie was somewhat superior, even though “Thor: Ragnarok” happened to be vivider. Based on this year’s movies released thus far from both DC and Marvel, you might as well say DC is kicking Marvel in the ass. “Wonder Woman” is currently at a spot somewhere as one of my top movies of the year. The other movies released in the MCU thus far, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” underwhelmed me. OK, maybe “Spider-Man: Homecoming” didn’t underwhelm, after seeing the trailers, especially the one that revealed way too much about the movie, the hype I had for the movie was not as high as I hoped it would be. Nevertheless, that movie could have been better. Although despite “Wonder Woman” being one of my favorite DC films ever made, the reception for that movie regarding the DCEU, or the Detective Comics Extended Universe, is pretty much a fluke. “Man of Steel,” while not liked by everyone, did get a number of positive reviews from critics and audiences. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” in terms of reception, was one of the most controversial movies of 2016. In fact, “Suicide Squad,” also released in 2016, happened to be met with the same results. I had at least one thing that I enjoyed about every DCEU movie thus far. As of now I think “Suicide Squad” sucks, but at least some of the action was cool, the visuals were stunning, and the casting for Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was stellar!

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Now we’re here, “Justice League” is out. While it currently has better results, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes, than “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” it’s not getting exactly what one would call positive reception. The big question is, does “Justice League” qualify as a film or not? I’d say it does. It’s got problems, but I’d say there’s still hope for the DCEU. It’s by no means as good as “Wonder Woman,” but I’d say it’s worth your money.

As mentioned, this movie has problems. So let’s begin our Negative Nancy segment of the post. This movie is an hour and fifty-nine minutes long. In all honesty, it could have been longer. I do believe this movie is going to get an extended cut for the home video release so my issue may be resolved there depending on what happens. The main reason why I wanted this to be longer is for characterization purposes. Let’s look at Cyborg in this movie.

Cyborg is played by Ray Fisher, who I imagine is a lovely guy. After all, while I never technically met him and shook his hand, I saw him at Comic Con as I was waiting in line for the person next to him. By the way, I’m referring to Gal Gadot, who’s also in this movie, and I’ll get to her later. While I did get some of his backstory, and I also happened to be introduced to a parent of his, I don’t really feel like I got to know Cyborg in full detail. If the movie was a bit longer much like some of the other installments in the DCEU then maybe we would have gotten a closer look at Cyborg. Also, this does bring one question to my mind. How long was this intended to be?

This film was directed by Zack Snyder, a man who had prior experience when it comes to films based on comic books or graphic novels. These films include “300,” “Watchman,” along with two movies in this film’s universe, “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” However, he didn’t have complete control. For the record, that was his decision. An unexpected tragedy hit the Snyder family earlier this year when Zack’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide. This caused Joss Whedon to take over.

Joss Whedon was added on in order to finish the movie and shoot some extra scenes. The movie also went through reshoots, which isn’t new for this universe considering “Suicide Squad” also went through reshoots which happened to be met with mixed opinions. Joss Whedon, much like Snyder, isn’t a stranger to comic book films. Whedon directed both “Avengers” 1 & 2 so as far as concept goes, this is almost like a trip down memory lane. I like Joss Whedon, but he almost might be a problem here. When it comes to directing, it might involve one person with a certain vision for their movie. It almost felt like Joss Whedon came in with a different vision and it kind of affected this particular movie. Part of that vision, from what I can tell, possibly came from a musical perspective. Snyder initially hired Junkie XL to do the movie’s music, but it turns out that he was eventually fired and replaced by Danny Elfman. After hearing Elfman’s score in this film, I wasn’t exactly impressed. Not only is it somewhat ordinary, but even borrowing themes from other superhero films with characters didn’t work out. I liked what he did with Wonder Woman’s theme, but that’s about it. This is rather unfortunate because I love Danny Elfman. Admittedly, I don’t think he’s the right guy for this project. Junkie XL was probably the better choice. I even saw a video on YouTube that showed Junkie XL’s real theme for this film, which was scrapped due to Elfman replacing him. After hearing that, I knew for sure Junkie XL was right for this. It’s not surprising Danny Elfman did the music if you think about it, because he worked with Joss Whedon in the past on “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I didn’t even like the score for that film, maybe superhero crossover films aren’t for him. He did well on standalone superhero films though such as the “Spider-Man” trilogy, so if he were doing superhero films, that’s what he should be hired for. Who knows? It might not even be Whedon’s fault, because this movie, from a perspective regarding itself from a point of view that I imagine must be Zack Snyder’s, could have affected it as well.

I’ve seen news and trailers regarding this movie leading up to it. At times I heard this movie was going to have more humor than say, “Batman v. Superman.” Tell me guys, doesn’t that sound like Marvel to you? Maybe Zack Snyder thought if the movie was more like a Marvel movie, and by that I mean generally more comedic and happy go lucky, he’d receive more positive criticism. Granted, the movie was funny, and there were moments where the comedy happened to work. Although in general, let’s just say this. If a movie sets up a tone, it’s best that they stick with it. This movie starts out rather dark, in fact part of it has to do with the death of a major character in the DCEU. There’s still comedy throughout and it works. Some of the comedy, maybe not as much because I’ve seen it in the trailer, but overall it works. Then we progress throughout the movie, while some of the original vibe is still there, it’s starting to diminish. The movie’s getting tads lighter as we go. This may be due to the writing, the reshoots, anything. In fact, it could be Joss Whedon’s fault after all! He was credited for his work on the screenplay. Also when it comes to the screenplay, Whedon technically had possibly more credit than Snyder because while Snyder had a focus on the movie’s story, Whedon was given credit on the screenplay itself.

Some people might not notice this, but Whedon also likely decided on changing the climax of the movie. The idea is pretty much the same, there are scenes from multiple trailers (both before and after Snyder’s departure) that made it into the final cut, but you might notice the sky is red. I mentioned this in my “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)” post comparing this result with one of the earlier trailers where we see identical moments with a dark blue sky. I thought the blue sky worked, the red was a little too much. I will give some credit because the sky wasn’t, say, pink, but I thought the dark blue was more fitting for the movie overall.

As far as the action goes in this movie, I’d say for the most part, it’s awesome. Zack Snyder has proven that he can direct great action scenes in previous movies and he just shows he’s not messing around in this one. There was one scene that for the most part, was great, but there was a time where I almost couldn’t tell what was happening. Just for the record, it wasn’t as bad as “Transformers 5.”

Another complaint I’ll give here is that Steppenwolf wasn’t exactly the strongest villain I’ve ever seen. Comic book movies in general, mainly the ones that have come out this decade, lack memorable villains. There are exceptions like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” but for the most part, they don’t exactly resemble greatness when it comes to antagonists. Steppenwolf was a serviceable villain with a somewhat clear motivation, however at the same time, he was rather cliche.

Now that that’s over, let’s move onto some positives. The cinematography in this movie is very solid for a comic book film. There are a number of scenes where it’s rather conventional, but at times, the camera is moving like crazy which goes along perfectly with the fast paced action. If you ask me, the DCEU’s best cinematography however comes from “Man of Steel.” Although that’s kind of a compliment since both movies were directed by Zack Snyder. At the same time however you can say I’m kind of insulting the cinematographer because the director of photography for “Justice League” and “Man of Steel” are two different people.

I also appreciated the film’s CGI. Did it go overboard? At times, but that’s not a first for comic book movies. Overall, you can say the effects were massive, somewhat colorful, and somewhat breathtaking. Seeing Aquaman stop water from reaching a further distance was spectacular to watch. Also, you might not know, but Cyborg’s costume is CGI, and I got to say it worked.

Speaking of things that are done digitally, Henry Cavill appeared in this movie. I won’t go into further detail about what he did, but he’s there. During the movie’s production, he had a mustache. Why was this? He was simultaneously working on “Mission: Impossible 6” where his role required him to have said mustache. Under regulation, Cavill couldn’t shave it off, so it was removed digitally. While you don’t really see much of it, it’s still visible. I don’t know how much of the movie-going population would catch something like this, but it caught my eye nevertheless.

Sticking with the topic of heroes and the actors who portray them, let’s talk about some in depth, except for Cyborg since we already went over him. Starting off with Batman, played by Ben Affleck, he’s basically one of the two people organizing the Justice League. Before “Batman v. Superman” I was somewhat skeptical about him as Batman but now that I’ve seen him multiple times as the Caped Crusader, I have to say he does a fine job portraying the character. As Bruce Wayne, Affleck seems to stay according to plan and as Batman he appears to remain deep voiced and alert.

The other person organizing the league is Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. There is LITERALLY no other person that should be playing this role but Gal! I may be biased because I love Gal Gadot, I view her as my celebrity crush, I met her at Comic Con, but seriously! Just watch Gal Gadot in this movie and you’ll come to realize, she has this system down. Her battle cries are probably some of the best I’ve heard in a movie! The accent, which by the way, is actually the real way Gal talks, works for the character! Seeing her in action is such a treat! The list of positivity is extreme! Her character, once again, SHINES in this movie. I was able to buy into both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince. When a movie makes you do that, you know you have a great character. On a sidenote, there’s a point in the movie where Bruce and Diana are having a conversation and when “Steve Trevor” comes up, I was wowed. I can’t exactly recall the quote where Trevor’s name is mentioned, but it was a highlight in the movie’s screenplay for me.

This movie also has Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, played by Ezra Miller. Out of all the characters in the movie, this one was pretty much the comic relief. Sure, there’s funny lines given by multiple characters in the film, but if there was one person that stole scenes from a humor perspective, it had to have been The Flash. I didn’t really laugh as much as other people, but I did end up laughing. His character was hyperactive, excited, and rather fleshed out. I can also give kudos to Ezra Miller for giving a good performance.

The last hero I’ll bring up is Arthur Curry/Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa. If you have read the comic books and watched this movie, you may notice some differences when it comes to Aquaman here. His backstory is similar overall, but in terms of character traits, he’s not completely identical. One difference you may notice is the hair. When you compare the hairstyle to the comics, it’s similar to certain installments, signifying that the hair in the comics isn’t always the same. Although one thing you might notice here is that the hair isn’t blonde, it’s more on the darker side of the color spectrum. Overall, I bought into Aquaman, I enjoyed seeing him in Atlantis, and personality-wise, he’s kind of like a rockstar. That’s what I get from the way he talks. On a little sidenote, I made a post months back saying that footage was leaked for the upcoming “Aquaman” movie. Turns out that’s actually in this movie. If you want to read that, link’s down below.

https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/leaked-aquaman-footage-revealed-on-zack-snyders-twitter/

Speaking of characters in this movie, Commissioner Gordon also makes an appearance here. This is Gordon’s first appearance in the DCEU and the reason why I’m excited he’s here is not because I have a passion for the character but I have more of a passion towards the actor who plays him. That actor by the way is JK Simmons (Whiplash, Juno). When it comes to JK Simmons, if you put a picture down on a table with his face on it and do the same with other actors, there’s a good chance that I’m gonna tell you “Screw the others, this guy’s the man!” I say this because JK Simmons is probably my favorite actor when it comes to ability. There are actors who I personally idolize more, such as Curtis Armstrong, but JK Simmons usually never fails to impress me, and that continues in this movie. Granted it’s not his best performance, but it’s also not his worst. He convinces me as Commissioner Gordon and I hope to see more of him if this movie’s universe continues. One interesting fact you may or may not know, JK Simmons is also J Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy. So basically he went from doing movies under one comic book company onto another. Whether you prefer Marvel or DC, let’s just agree that JK Simmons rules!

Here’s a question you might be asking. Is this movie good enough for the DCEU to continue? Personally when it comes to watchability, yes. However, the critics seemed to give this mixed reviews, it did make tons of money despite how it could have made more, and I have a feeling that moviegoers will either compare it to Marvel saying it’s not as good or too much like Marvel. Do I think it’s like Marvel? In ways, but DC has seemed to develop it’s own characteristics that Marvel doesn’t traditionally use that makes it stand on its own. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” another movie in the DCEU, was dark as hell. It could have worked if more character development came into play. If these movies find their own path in terms of vibe, whether it be light or dark, personally I prefer dark, depending on the movie, and they focus more on characterization, then this universe would be less flawed. My other suggestion is that they try to just release one cut in theaters and go with it. I don’t care if it’s long as long as it’s effective. The original cut for “Batman v. Superman” was 2 hours and 31 minutes and that didn’t work out. This is why audiences loved “Wonder Woman” when they saw it. It functioned as a story and it managed to work out as far as the runtime goes (2 hours 21 mins). If a movie doesn’t rush and makes sure it can tell its story in full detail, chances are it will be better. Also, it seems suspicious that they would make the runtime 1 hour and 59 minutes. It almost seems as if the movie happened to be longer, the studio would be worried about making less money. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good assumption. Although it’s not as suspicious as when a movie gets split into two parts (The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga). But seriously, quality matters, not quantity.

In the end, I’d say “Justice League,” while not perfect, is an enjoyable ride and is certainly better than some of the other comic book films we’ve gotten this year. In fact, I’ll even go as far as to say, I’d rather watch this than “Thor: Ragnarok.” Am I a DC fanboy? Not really, I’m just a guy who likes good movies, and I had more fun watching this than I did watching “Thor: Ragnarok.” Is this movie as good as “Wonder Woman?” No, but I’d definitely say it’s worth watching if you’re into DC, you like action, and if you can get by the tones that clash throughout the film. I’m gonna give “Justice League” a 7/10. After watching a bunch of movies in both the Detective Comics Extended Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve got to say that the Detective Comics Extended Universe is this year’s clear winner. While Marvel’s films had some neat effects, cool moments, and likable villains, they all tried to be funny, but ended up falling flat for me. The DCEU balanced heroism, action, and humor. “Wonder Woman” is one of the best directed superhero films I ever watched, “Justice League,” despite its imperfections, is a joyride. So I can’t wait to see what next year brings for both cinematic universes and find out which one comes out on top. Now I know I’ve been talking for awhile and believe it or not, I’m unfinished. Because I need to talk about Stardust!

Stardust is an app you can use to talk about movies and TV. I recently used this to talk about “Justice League” along with my quick thoughts on it and I recommend you do so as well. Although if you don’t want to talk about “Justice League,” you can choose from thousands of movies and TV shows to give your two cents towards. You talk about how much you like them, how much you hate them, you don’t even have to see them! Stardust also allows you to follow people and see what their latest reactions are. If you want to follow me, my handle is JackDrees. It’s kind of like Snapchat minus the risque elements of the app that Tinder is also known for. If you want to download Stardust go right ahead, I recommend doing so that way you can start sharing your thoughts on movies and TV shows.

Thanks for reading this extended review, I also hope you enjoyed the little piece I did on the movie’s box office return, I tried to put a good amount of effort into that. Part of me feels slightly crazier than I once was for doing it, but I also had some fun writing all of this s*it down. I’m going to see “Wonder” on Black Friday. I’ve heard great things about this movie so far, I loved Jacob Tremblay in “Room,” so I’m really looking forward to this. Stay tuned for my review for that, along with more reviews! I need to know, what is the best superhero movie you’ve seen this year? I can’t say I’ve seen “Logan” so I gotta go with “Wonder Woman.” Also what is the worst superhero movie you’ve seen this year? My pick would be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” but each person will have their own opinion. Comment below, I’d love to hear your responses! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last weekend we got a new movie from Marvel Studios, specifically “Thor: Ragnarok,” and while many people, including myself, say that Marvel has proven to create excellent films, there are also many that say DC, isn’t like Marvel. Now, I will say this, I saw “Wonder Woman” in the theater this year, and as of now, I actually think I like that movie better than any of the movies released thus far in the MCU. Based on Marvel’s past records and reception, it’s guaranteed that “Thor: Ragnarok” will be a box office success and a likable movie according to many viewers. Now the real question I have is, can DC deliver on the same thing?

As much audiences and critics loved “Wonder Woman,” not everyone thought movies like “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Suicide Squad” were worth watching. Also, this upcoming “Justice League” movie is being directed by Zack Snyder, who I haven’t seen GREAT films from yet, but many people like him for his work on “Watchman” and “300.” I haven’t seen “Watchman,” but I have seen “300.” If you ask me, I enjoyed “300,” I thought it was a visually stunning movie with a very fitting vibe, some great music, but it ultimately rounded out to a 7/10 experience for me. I’ve also seen “Sucker Punch,” which like “300” is visually appealing, although not as good. However there’s one action sequence in that movie that was f*cking amazing! Zack Snyder’s films, from memory, don’t usually have much substance, but a good amount of style interjected into them. That style has worked for our eyes even in the DCEU (Detective Comics Extended Universe), the way the action is shot in “Man of Steel” is extremely exhilarating to the point that even Doug Walker, AKA Channel Awesome’s Nostalgia Critic, someone who in a video said “‘MAN OF STEEL’ SUCKS!”, said that the action in the movie was super awesome and felt like “Dragonball.” In “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” part of the movie was shot in the IMAX format, which looked great when presented on IMAX screens. Interestingly, when the movie came out on home video, the aspect ratio changes which were shown in IMAX theaters, weren’t shown on the home video version. The movie is also full of eye candy visuals all over the place. Not to mention, Wikipedia suggests “Batman v. Superman” is the 7th most expensive movie ever made, which is tied with “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and “The Fate of the Furious.” Zack Snyder isn’t the only one who has a major say in the production of “Justice League” however…

If you have seen or heard “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” you may know those movies were directed by Joss Whedon, who is also known for creating the TV shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” both of which have received followings from nerds over the years. Whedon is also involved with “Justice League’s” post-production and that’s because Zack Snyder’s daughter died after committing suicide. This happened March 20th, 2017, and this lead to Snyder initially hiring Whedon to take over. Speaking of replacements, when it came to the movie’s score, Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool), who also did part of the score with Hans Zimmer for “Batman v. Superman,” was originally hired to do “Justice League’s” score, however Joss Whedon hired Danny Elfman to take his place. This does make a lick of sense if you think about it, because Elfman has worked with Whedon in the past during “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” If you ask me, that score wasn’t very good. Nothing stood out about it except for the end of the movie when the theme you hear from the first “Avengers” film pops up, which wasn’t even an original piece from Elfman, that was done by Alan Silvestri, who also did another score I admire, specifically “Night at the Museum.” Now, I like Danny Elfman. The man’s done some of my favorite scores (Spider-Man trilogy, Oz the Great and Powerful), but given the vibe we’ve seen from this universe thus far, and having heard Elfman’s past scores, I seriously wonder how the music would go with the movie in terms of meshing together properly. Although this might be good for “Batman” fans, because reports have come up lately that his theme for Batman will be in the upcoming “Justice League” movie. You know, the one audiences first heard back in 1989. Also, this might be interesting for “Superman” fans as well because another report came out suggesting that his score will feature a dark twist on the iconic “Superman” theme, originally done by John Williams. As interesting as that is, the future, as far as this movie goes, seems shaky. But on a positive note, specifically for myself, the music we’ve gotten in the Detective Comics Extended Universe thus far is miles better than most of the music in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s hard to know what to expect from this film, considering you have multiple minds taking control of it. You have Zack Snyder’s and you have Joss Whedon’s, whose mind came into play during post-production. In fact, I’ve seen a change in terms of the vision when it comes to the film’s look as a whole. I went to YouTube and took screenshots of a similar part of both the trailer released in March and the most recently released trailer. In the trailer released in March, the sky looks dark and blue, whereas in the latest trailer it looks fiery and red. Just compare the scene where Aquaman is car surfing and see what I mean. Two different visions might ruin the movie and affect it significantly. Not to mention, it just begs a ton of questions. These include “How much has changed?” “Why was there change?” “How will the changes affect the final product?” If you ask me, Joss Whedon can direct better stories than Zack Snyder whereas Zack Snyder is better with style. This movie has reportedly gotten reshoots since Whedon took over, so maybe the original product had not much story and it’s possible that Whedon could be changing that. Although there was another movie that has gotten reshoots in the DCEU that while it ended up pleasing certain people, it couldn’t make everyone happy, specifically “Suicide Squad.” There’s a good chance that the reshoots might not end up paying off and leaving certain people rather unsatisfied with the results. Also, what if these reshoots are making this movie a simple carbon copy of “The Avengers?” I ask that because Whedon directed that movie and if you think about it, in fact if you know the material you don’t even have to think about it, they’re very similar in terms of concept.

Speaking of shooting troubles, let’s talk about Henry Cavill. It was reported that he would be in the movie, but at the same time, it was also reported that he was shooting for “Mission: Impossible 6” which is set to come out in 2018. In fact when he was shooting “Mission: Impossible 6,” his role required him to have a beard. He had to go back and forth between productions, which by the way, different studios are behind the two films. Paramount is behind “Mission: Impossible” and Warner Bros. is behind Justice League. Cavill couldn’t shave his beard during his time working on “Justice League” so essentially it was removed digitally during post production. That’s pretty much all I’ll say about him because if I go on with certain thoughts related to Cavill, it would spoil “Batman v. Superman.”

Speaking of actors in this movie, let’s talk about Ben Affleck. A lot of people like Ben Affleck, both as an actor and a director. Here he’s acting as Batman, which going into “Batman v. Superman,” some people were worried about, but as audiences walked out, they actually didn’t mind his interpretation. Although some might wonder what the future is going to be for this man. You may be aware of the whole Harvey Weinstein fiasco going on at the moment. You know, the sexual harassment scandal. Turns out that Affleck is chums with Weinstein and he made a tweet containing the image below:

Fun fact about this tweet, someone noticed it, that someone being Rose McGowan, she called Affleck a liar, because he knew about Harvey Weinstein’s actions. She later tweeted “Ben Affleck fuck off.” I will say though, there is a time that she took this kind of case too far, when it came to another person who tweeted about this, Ryan Gosling. He tweeted saying he felt bad about everything that’s going on, and she quote tweeted Ryan’s tweet saying this: “you could at least do us the courtesy saying our names.” My response, just be thankful. Ryan Gosling is trying to remind people this is a serious issue and this is his way of doing it. It’s like saying every single birthday card must have a gift certificate inside it, otherwise it’s not a birthday card. Although in all seriousness, this is literally where we are at! A cinematic universe’s biggest star caught in a scandal that’s larger than the Mall of America! It doesn’t even end there, in the wake of this, several people have called out on Affleck for sexually harassing them. For example, in 2003, he groped Hilarie Burton’s breasts on MTV’s “TRL.” Another example is during a Golden Globes party in 2014 with Annamarie Tendler. On October 11 of this year, she made the following tweets:

As far as other cast members go, they’re not exactly involved in any of this Harvey Weinstein business, but this is a serious matter. Ben Affleck has such a major role in the DCEU, so he’ll either be kept around, which I think might result in slight controversy at the very least, or he’ll be fired, needing to find a new actor to play Batman. After all, this universe’s Batman is getting a standalone film directed by Matt Reeves, director of “Cloverfield” and this year’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Not to mention, Jason Momoa, the fellow playing Aquaman, was recently under a similar situation. You may or may not know he happened to be Khal Drogo on “Game of Thrones,” otherwise known as the one reason many people either subscribe to HBO, or the one reason some people pirate it. Jason Momoa attended a San Diego Comic-Con panel in 2011, which was for “Game of Thrones.” He said at one point that he loved the show because he got to “rape beautiful women.” Based on what I’ve read, this is a much smaller case than Harvey Weinstein’s super-sized scandal, but it is something that many would consider a distasteful comment. Although to be fair, he did apologize for it.

Next up, you have the release date. This film is being released on November 17, 2017, which is two weeks after “Thor: Ragnarok.” That movie owned the box office on its opening weekend. It soared past the first “Thor” at an 84% increase, and also flew by “Thor: The Dark World” at a 41% increase. As far as the US goes, this is the fourth largest opening of the year. There’s a chance that while this movie is out, people might still be thinking about “Thor: Ragnarok.” Plus, people in general have gone to see Marvel movies and liked Marvel movies as opposed to DC movies. This takes us into an interesting battle: “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” vs. “Captain America: Civil War.” Both movies had heroes fighting against each other and despite the fact that two of DC’s most popular heroes were duking it out in a fight that many fans have waited to see for years in a live action movie, “Captain America: Civil War” ended up making more money. According to Box Office Mojo, “Captain America: Civil War” is in the top 3 films, in terms of gross, released in 2016, with a total of $408,084,349 domestically and $1,153,304,495 worldwide. “Batman v. Superman” earned a spot as the highest grossing film released by Warner Bros. in 2016, and it made it to the #7 spot in terms of all films for the particular year. That film’s total gross came out to $330,360,194 domestically and $873,260,194 worldwide. Now there are multiple factors that could have contributed. People seemed to give more positive reception towards “Civil War,” which in my opinion it deserves. Although I will say the audience score for “Batman v. Superman” on Rotten Tomatoes is at 63%, which is a positive score. However the critic score is much lower at a total of 27%. Compared to “Captain America: Civil War,” both scores are lower. The audience score and critic score are nearly identical for “Civil War” with the audience one being 89% and the critic score being 90%. By the way, Rotten Tomatoes in general should be taken into consideration since it is a source that a good number of moviegoers seem to rely on before they decide whether or not a movie is worth their time and money. There’s a possible chance that more families went to see “Civil War” as well, which I wouldn’t be too surprised by considering Marvel has shown to advertise themselves as slightly more family friendly than some DC films. Also keep in mind there are more heroes in “Civil War.” While “Batman v. Superman” has two heroes in a fight, a mega-throwdown is a crucial part to “Captain America: Civil War.” “Batman v. Superman” has Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman interjected in there. “Captain America: Civil War” has Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon, Vision, Rhodes, Bucky (yes, he counts here), Scarlet Witch, plus the introductions of this universe’s interpretations of Black Panther and Spider-Man. The biggest thing that triggered people like me to go to this movie aside from being in the MCU is that Spider-Man was in the movie! Also, he was being played by a teenager! Plus, you gotta consider, Marvel’s owned by Disney, the creator of Scrooge McDuck, and as of now, a literal Scrooge McDuck. Maybe the world is used to Marvel movies, know they’re good according to personal opinions, and have less to say about DC. Also, there’s a possibility that certain individuals ended up seeing the movie more than once during its theatrical run. I will admit, I was one of those people. I went on opening night and I went again during its third weekend. I didn’t see “Batman v. Superman” twice in the theater, I did however watch it more times overall compared to “Captain America: Civil War” when I bought the Blu-ray. Speaking of weekends, “Batman v. Superman” also suffered a significant box office drop from its first to second weekend. The total drop happened to be 69.1% (not counting Thursday previews), compared to 1997’s “Batman & Robin,” which dropped 63.3% from the first to second weekend. I’ll remind you, “Batman & Robin” is a movie considered by an enormous number of people to be the worst “Batman” film ever made, and quite possibly the worst, if not one of the worst comic book films ever made. You never know what could happen. Maybe people will see it. Maybe people will like it. Although there is a good chance that if this movie fails to impress people, it could drop dramatically, in a result that’s possibly worse than “Batman v. Superman,” because if the world has taught us anything about movies and opening weekends, comic book movies are the bomb. Not to mention more money is given towards it if more than one hero is part of the story, unless we’re talking about a movie I’ll mention in just a moment. Also less people will go see it the more negativity they hear about it. In 2015, “Fantastic Four” was widely disliked and that also suffered a tremendous drop from the first to second weekend. To be specific, it turned out to be 68.2%. Also, I won’t go into much detail about this because it’s kind of in assumption territory, but I wonder how many people are avoiding this because they think we don’t need “another Marvel deal.”

Another thing that has some people worried, including myself, is that as of now, no reviews of this film have been put out yet, and there’s a reason for that. The review embargo doesn’t lift until the day before the movie comes out, specifically November 16th. Let’s compare this to other movies based on comic books. The “Logan” review embargo was lifted on February 15th, 2017, which was multiple weeks before the movie released and that movie is considered by many to be one of this year’s best films. “Thor: Ragnarok’s” release date was placed two weeks prior to the one for “Justice League,” specifically November 3, 2017. The embargo for that movie was lifted on October 19th, two weeks prior to opening night. Many people praised that film and commercials even stated by MCU standards, it’s the best reviewed movie yet. 2015’s “Fantastic Four” had its review embargo lifted August 6th, which was the day before the film came out. So “Justice League” ultimately has something in common with a film that was considered terrible by comic book fans, terrible by average moviegoers, and may as well have just been for Fox to just keep the rights to the franchise so it doesn’t go to Marvel Studios. There was a point this year where I thought based on my personal tastes, “Thor: Ragnarok” was going to be slaughtered by “Justice League,” but now I’m increasingly thinking the opposite. The production for this film is so clunky that it makes the production for “Suicide Squad” look like a walk in the park! The trailers have evidence of used footage which has been changed from one trailer to the other! And in the end it almost feels like some of this is just being rushed!

I can describe my current excitement for “Justice League” in the same way I did at a point for “Thor: Ragnarok.” I’m excited, but also worried. Part of me really wants to enjoy this movie because it’s “Justice League.” You’ve got all the DC heroes coming together, the effects look good, the casting choices are stellar! However the behind the scenes stuff and the review embargo news makes me apprehensive. I also wonder what certain theaters are going to do now that Ben Affleck is constantly being called out for his actions related to sexual abuse, not to mention I wonder how audiences will react to this movie now that this is going on. If this movie fails, the DCEU might die hard and that would personally be disappointing news because I wanted to see what Warner Brothers would do with a cinematic universe related to DC Comics. Also, I want to see more work from Gal Gadot. Although if I could make a suggestion, if Affleck is fired, I’d like Warner to ask Christian Bale if he would like to return as the caped crusader. On a lighter note, let’s talk about a convention.

This weekend, specifically November 10-12, I will be in Providence, RI for this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con! I will be going all three days, Friday through Sunday. This will be taking place at the Rhode Island Convention Center, the Dunkin Donuts Center, and a hint of the Omni Providence hotel. I’ll be walking around the convention, making purchases, attending panels, all that jazz. I’ll even make a post documenting my time at the convention for you all to read if you’re interested in checking that out. This convention is dedicated to comic books, movies, and TV. You’ll be seeing a good number of artists there, not to mention vendors, but you’ll also run into a ton of celebrities. Some of the headliners include William Shatner, Elijah Wood, Michael Colter, Mark Ruffalo, Ian McDiarmid, Jerome Flynn, Dave Bautista, and Norman Reedus. There will also be some music related guests including Gene Simmons and Al Yankovic. What I’m personally most excited for is the “Revenge of the Nerds” reunion, where several cast members from “Revenge of the Nerds” will be coming to the con, signing autographs, doing photo ops, and will be talking at a panel together. This is gonna be sick! If you want to find me at Rhode Island Comic Con, you do need a ticket to get in, they are still on sale by the way, and chances are you might see me in blue sunglasses. This is my third year in a row going to this event, it’s a lot of fun, I highly recommend it, and I hope to see you there!

Thanks for reading this post, hope to see you at the convention this weekend if you can make it and if you can’t make it, that’s fine. Also, if you are part of a convention or convention organization and want me to review a con related to it, either comment or email me! I do have a contact page so don’t be shy. Stay tuned for more reviews and posts! Also, how do you feel about this buildup to “Justice League?” Worried? Calm? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!