Tag Archives: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Zack Snyder Films Ranked

Zack Snyder films

With his latest movie Army of the Dead out now, as well as his Justice League released earlier this year, it’s time to rank director Zack Snyder’s filmography.

Zack Snyder is one of the most divisive and polarising directors working at the moment, some people love his films, and other people absolutely despise him. For me, he’s actually one of my favourite directors, and I’m a fan of his movies. He has such a distinct style across all of his movies that some like and some don’t. Looking at his filmography as a whole, he has done so much over the past 20 years, from adaptations of comic book characters and iconic graphic novels, to zombie movies and even animated movies about owls. I’m always interested to see what he does next.

Also for the record, the Justice League movie that was released in 2017 isn’t on this list, even if Snyder’s name is on it.

9. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

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Legends of the Guardians is an often overlooked animated movie. I remember seeing when it came out in cinemas, having read the books that its based on. While the story was a little different from the books (from what I can remember), it was quite a decent movie, and should’ve gotten more attention than it received.

One thing that I think everyone can agree on is that Legend of the Guardians is a very well directed and technically strong movie, even with it being an animated kids movie, you can definitely tell that it’s a Zack Snyder movie. This is a stunning movie and there are some beautiful looking sequences. I had read the books years prior to the movie and while the story in the movie really wasn’t that great, it does stand out from some other animated movies. It is also quite dark in terms of its visuals and story, which is always refreshing for a kids movie and made it stand out. I would actually like to see Snyder take on another animated movie, he’s definitely showed himself as being very capable at making one with this movie.

My review of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

8. 300

Zack Snyder had already directed his first feature film with Dawn of the Dead, but his next film 300 is what really put him on the map as a director to really pay attention to. With the larger than life visuals, and the grand and epic scale, 300 really made an impression on audiences and critics alike and was incredible influential on other movies following it.

300 is quite an enthralling film to watch. The actors played their parts well, the story is straightforward and good enough for what it is (and does have a little more to it than just exposed men stabbing each other), but most of all, it’s Snyder’s visual storytelling that’s the highlight. The action is stylised, gratifying and entertaining, and a lot of the shots and sequences are a feast for the eyes and look straight out of a graphic novel and comic book (appropriate given the source material). Some aspects of the direction can get a little too over the top, especially with the slow-motion and some of the digital effects not holding up 1.5 decades later (especially with the green screen and blue screen). Otherwise, 300 still holds up today as a bloody, epic and entertaining watch.

My review of 300

7. Dawn of the Dead

Remakes of classic films are generally a worry, especially when it comes to horror movies, specifically in this case George A. Romero’s horror classic Dawn of the Dead. However, Zack Snyder actually did a great job with his first feature movie, a fast and intense zombie film which is still pretty good today.

James Gunn’s writing paired with Snyder’s direction was a great combination and overall, it’s quite a fun movie to watch. The plot is moving constantly and never allows you a chance to be bored. The film is short but manages to add a lot of emotion, humour and more in that time. The characters are pretty standard and aren’t special, but generally have more characterisation than most zombie movie characters, and are played well by the cast. It does lack the social commentary from George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, but in a way, there was no way of imitating what Romero did with the original, so in some way it was better keeping the straightforward zombie movie approach. It is a good-looking movie, definitely more grimy looking compared to Snyder’s later movies, which fits in with the tone. The action is fast paced and brutal, the zombies are fast, nightmarish and dangerous, and the makeup and practical effects are great. All of these come together to provide some very memorable and creative moments. Full of exhilarating energy, Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is one of my favourite zombie movies.

My review of Dawn of the Dead

6. Sucker Punch: Extended Cut

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If there’s a movie that really started the hate for Zack Snyder as a director, it’s Sucker Punch, which got quite the negative response upon its release. It’s quite possibly his most polarising movie, which is saying a lot. There are some people who love the movie, and others who absolutely hate it. I’m actually one of the people who really liked it for what it was.

This is one of the only two films from Zack Snyder that’s not based on an existing source material. I wouldn’t say its one of Snyder’s best work by any means, but it is certainly ambitious. The narrative is far from straightforward and doesn’t spoon feed you what’s happening, which I have to respect. The narrative isn’t always coherent but I wouldn’t trade for one that was perfectly clear cut. Sucker Punch is also in some ways a female empowerment film, as well as commentary and examination of trauma, misogyny and abuse. Even if it doesn’t fully succeed, I admire the attempt at really trying to say something. The characterisation isn’t great and most of the characters are underdeveloped and underwritten, but the strong cast consisting of Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Oscar Isaac and more make up for that. As typical of Snyder, this is distinctly one of his movies from his direction alone. From the beginning of the movie with the incredible opening sequence to the very end, the visuals are stunning. As I’ve said in other reviews in the past, style is substance, and Sucker Punch has a lot of style. The action scenes are entertaining, and while knowing the context of the larger-than-life sequences being in the lead character’s head does take away from them to a degree, I still enjoy them quite a lot. Not all of the movie works and there’s some messiness to it, but a lot of Sucker Punch does work for me.

My review of Sucker Punch

5. Army of the Dead

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With his latest movie, Zack Snyder goes back to his zombie roots, while showing that he’s progressed quite a lot since that movie. While it’s not completely original with it being a zombie movie and the plot is relatively familiar, it does still make itself distinct as a zombie movie. It’s really no surprise that Netflix sees so much potential in this being a major franchise for them.

Army of the Dead is entertaining throughout, quite comedic (definitely Snyder’s most comedic film), while being quite dark, and despite the premise of a zombie heist movie in Las Vegas, it’s not necessarily a ‘dumb zombie flick’. There’s a lot of great worldbuilding as it sets up the characters and setting. The characters are great and portrayed very well by the ensemble cast. And of course, the direction from Zack Snyder is enthralling to watch. It is visually stunning (shot by Snyder as DOP this time), with some strong CGI and practical effects. Then there’s the action sequences, which very well shot and choreographed. So far, Army of the Dead is one of my favourite movies of 2021, and I can’t wait to see the spin offs, sequels and prequels that are to come from this.

My review of Army of the Dead

4. Man of Steel

Man of Steel

When I first saw Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel back in 2013, I thought it was pretty good, but I wasn’t quite loving it at that point. I saw it as a solid, visually stunning and entertaining superhero movie with Superman in it. After many rewatches of this, I can say with confidence that it is the best (solo) Superman movie. It did something that no other live action versions of Superman couldn’t do, get me to take Superman seriously as a character and actually get me to care about him.

Zack Snyder took Superman to places that previous live action versions hadn’t yet. The Christopher Reeve Superman is still great but more modern interpretations of the character trying to harken back to that era didn’t quite work (2017’s Justice League being an example). Snyder however makes Superman work today, both in displaying his power and abilities, as well as him as a character. Having the narrative of the first half of the story jumping between the past and present as it shows Clark’s origin story, before then having Zod and the Kryptonians showing up in the second half worked quite well for a superhero origin story. I thought that overall, the story was quite well paced, and outside of some odd dialogue, I really liked the writing. The talented cast also did great jobs, Henry Cavill is still my favourite live action Superman to date, and a cast that includes Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe and more did exceedingly well. Zack Snyder directs Man of Steel spectacularly as expected. It’s a great looking movie, from the cinematography, to the visual effects, and to the production design and costumes. Additionally, Superman’s power is portrayed very well here for a more modern era. It’s also paired with a score which is among one of my favourite soundtracks of all time. Any issues I have with Man of Steel lessen the more times I watch it. In my mind it’s the best live action Superman film (solo at least) and one of my favourite superhero movies. It gets better the more I think about it and I’m glad to see that in the past 8 years, more and more people have slowly begun to start appreciating it more for what it is.

My original review of Man of Steel

My retrospective review of Man of Steel

3. Zack Snyder’s Justice League

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The other 2021 Zack Snyder film made it into the top 5 of the list too. Without getting too into that movie, the Justice League movie that released in 2017 was a crushing disappointment. Fans of Snyder and his DCEU movies didn’t like it and were beyond disappointed, and even audiences and critics didn’t like it all that much. Since the movie’s release, there was a campaign to see Snyder’s full vision. Despite all the campaigning for the movie, it seemed that it would never come. In 2020 however, it was announced that it would be happening after all, and it did not disappoint.

With the 4 hour runtime, Snyder gets to flesh things out, with the story, the characters, and the film’s universe. The characters are great, the returning characters of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are represented much better here, and the same goes for the new additions to the League with Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash. However out of all of them, it’s Ray Fisher’s Cyborg who gets the spotlight here, who really is the heart of the movie and whose story arc receives a much needed redemption in this cut. Even the side cast and characters get to shine more here. This includes the widely panned (at least in the 2017 version) villain Steppenwolf, who in this version gets to do much more here, with a massively improved design, general threat and presence, as well as being an actual character with some depth. Snyder’s Justice League is also flat out DC’s Lord of the Rings. It truly feels like an epic from the runtime, to the chapters, as well as the atmosphere and high stakes. Despite the length it didn’t feel too bloated, when you see the complexity of the story, it makes sense. It doesn’t rush into the teaming up of the League as expected, instead taking its time to build up the story with its characters and the backstories. Despite a lot of people’s perceptions of Snyder, his Justice League movie really is heartfelt and hopeful, and offers quieter and powerful moments between characters (especially in some scenes involving Cyborg). It also does offer moments of levity and humour, but in ways that fit the movie and doesn’t feel out of place. On a technical level it delivers unsurprisingly. The action scenes are fantastic and thrilling, and Junkie XL’s score accompanying them excellently. It’s shot wonderfully, and even the choice aspect ratio for actually ends up working for the film. While it seems that Snyder’s vision unfortunately won’t be continued in the rest of the DCEU, I am glad that we at least got to see this one movie. As someone who was anticipating this movie since 2017, I’m more than satisfied with what we got. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is not only a triumphant comic book epic and a better version of the movie from 2017, but also a vindication for Snyder and everyone else who worked on the movie.

My review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League

2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition

When I watched Batman v Superman in the cinemas, it actually ended up blowing me away. I was anticipating it greatly, but it ended up being better than I expected. The Ultimate Edition was even better, fixing most of the issues that the theatrical cut had (it should’ve been the version that was released). Whichever version is being judged, BvS proved to be somehow even more divisive than Man of Steel, and I’m glad that I’m in the group of people who love it.

BvS was denser than what I expected, there was a lot of plotlines going on considering it was a comic book movie, and was more than just a straight up Batman vs Superman movie (the title certainly didn’t fit the film). I can always watch this movie and be fully invested in the story from start to finish. I love the world that Snyder and writer Chris Terrio had set these characters in it, as well as the atmosphere. This film takes some risks with what they do with the characters, and I thought they paid off. Ben Affleck’s Batman is darker than the character’s past live action appearances, he’s damaged, traumatised, unstable, and yes, a killer. I loved his arc in the movie, as well as his action scenes, with this more physical and brutal take on him. The arc of Henry Cavill’s Superman is great too, with the Ultimate Edition restoring some key scenes for him that were needed. Man of Steel was his first day on the job, BvS goes into how we would react to Superman, and this movie only further cements Cavill as my favourite version of the character. The rest of the cast are great including a surprising Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, with a younger and more complex version than some other interpretations of the character. Snyder’s direction is great again, from the visual effects, to the cinematography, the action scenes and the score. There are some complaints I have, for example as a result of being of it being a direct Man of Steel sequel and with nothing in between, we don’t really get to see a contrast between the public loving and then hating Superman. There’s also some little plot points which aren’t handled perfectly, and you can tell WB definitely got Snyder to combine some elements together to create and set up a cinematic universe. It does have issues, but I still love it. It is one of the boldest comic book movies I’ve seen, with a unique story that is fresh for these characters. Batman v Superman will probably go along the lines of Watchmen, a divisive comic book movie which has a strong following behind it making it a cult classic, both directed by Zack Snyder. Speaking of Watchmen…

My review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

My review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition

My retrospective review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

1. Watchmen

A direct adaptation of Watchmen was considered to be unfilmable, yet Snyder managed to deliver on that in 2009, and in many ways it was ahead of its time given that it was released before the comic book movie boom in the 2010s. Over a decade later it works much better nowadays and is still is a great movie.

Watchmen is not a conventional comic book movie, and like the graphic novel, displays the flaws in the superhero. Overall, I thought it adapted the graphic novel quite well. Having read it, a lot of the changes I felt were appropriate and helped it work better as a live action film. I found the story to be incredibly riveting (especially the director’s cut), containing interesting characters that were intriguing to watch, helped by the great cast especially in Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup. Zack Snyder’s direction proved to be quite a good fit for the material. The visuals are great with the colours and shadows being beautifully utilised, and it’s like the scenes were ripped straight out of the graphic novel. The CGI is great, particularly with the effects involving the character of Dr Manhattan, and there are some fantastic sequences throughout. I’m not sure if this is a very unpopular opinion (it probably is), but Watchmen is my favourite comic book movie yet.

My review of Watchmen

What is your ranking of Zack Snyder’s movies?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Retrospective Review

Time: 183 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Holly Hunter as June Finch
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Scoot McNairy as Wallace Keefe
Callan Mulvey as Anatoli Knyazev
Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves
Robin Atkin Downes as Doomsday
Director: Zack Snyder

It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

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This is a spoiler filled review, here is my original Batman v Superman review, and here is my review of the Ultimate Edition.

I had already done a couple of reviews on Batman v Superman, one on the Theatrical Edition, and another on the Ultimate Edition. It’s been over a couple years since Batman v Superman has been released and I’ve seen it over 7 times (3 of them being of the Theatrical Cut and the rest being of the Ultimate Edition. I had felt compelled to yet again write about this movie, especially after my more recent Man of Steel retrospective review. Batman v Superman did have a large impact and impression on audience members, some loved it, others hated it and others felt very mixed and didn’t know what to think of it. Everyone had a strong opinion on this movie and it was very divisive, probably one of the most polarising comic book movies (if not the most polarising comic book movie of all time, even more than Man of Steel). It was such a surprising movie for me personally, I mean it was in the top of my fave movies of 2016. This review will go in a little more depth than my Man of Steel review with certain aspects. There were so many aspects about this movie that I was worried about, Ben Affleck was going to be Batman, Gal Gadot of Fast and Furious fame was going to play Wonder Woman, and Mark Zuckerberg himself Jesse Eisenberg was going to play the villainous Lex Luthor. Also, I didn’t know how this film would handle the introduction of the Justice League. I was very worried at what this movie was going to be like, even when I liked the trailers and footage I had many doubts. However, this movie blew me away, this movie as a whole was a lot more than I expected it to be. I expected a simple Batman versus Superman movie. Instead I got one of the few films that I would call a ‘superhero drama’ (other films in this category I would also place Watchmen, The Dark Knight and Logan), and it just gets better and better the more I watch it.

This film took massive risks, not only when it came to what Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio did with the characters but also the way it tells its story (with it being a movie about Superman and Batman, arguably in the top 3 comic book superheroes of all time). This story is a lot more dense than expected, you really have to pay attention to what was going on, it’s no Memento but there are lots of plotlines going on for a comic book movie. I and many other people just expected a straight up Batman vs Superman movie but it was a lot more than that. Oscar winning writer Chris Terrio did a great job with the script, he rewrote David S. Goyer’s script and you can feel the occasional odd Goyer line of dialogue that feels out of place, but otherwise most of it all really works. Batman v Superman also gets better and better the more I watch it, and certain aspects work better upon repeat viewings. Some scenes that didn’t seem necessary on of the first viewing, actually worked upon repeat viewings. The Clark and Jonathan Kent dream/vision mountain scene seemed unnecessary when I watched it for the first time. Upon many viewings though, I would consider it one of Clark’s most important scenes in the whole movie, especially for his arc. Despite the long runtime of the Ultimate Edition, for some reason I can always watch this movie and be fully invested from start to finish. There is some atmosphere in it which draws me to it but I can’t tell what it is, it’s something about this world that Terrio and Snyder had set these characters in.

Now the characters’ treatment in this film was one of the most criticised aspects of the film, especially with Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman. However, I personally think that their interpretations were not only great, they were very compelling and some of the best versions of the characters on the big screen. Let’s start with Batman. Batman is not just darker here than in any previous live action incarnation of Batman (which he is), he’s damaged, he doesn’t care anymore, he’s completely off the rails and is unstable. Many people complained that Batman here wasn’t really Batman, he wasn’t really a hero, between the Metropolis flashback and the third act, the one time when he actually saves people (aside from Martha Kent), he really wasn’t looking to save them. In his introduction scene as Batman, he was looking for the human trafficker criminal for information, not necessarily to save the people. To that criticism I say… that’s kinda the point. He’s not what he once was, like how Alfred brings up how everything’s changed “That’s how it starts, the fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men cruel” That Metropolis event changed Bruce significantly for the worse, which built upon his feeling of helplessness even when he was Batman (especially the implication that he failed to save Robin from The Joker). “20 years in Gotham Alfred, we’ve seen what promises are worth. How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?” To take a character as beloved and iconic as Batman and to take the risk of making him incredibly flawed, I have to give Snyder huge props for that. I noticed that Batman is one of these iconic characters that are so beloved that a lot of audiences don’t like when they are shown to be flawed, whether it be Superman, Luke Skywalker or whoever else. As for the complaints of him killing…. Batman has always killed in his past live action movies (with Batman and Robin being an exception). The difference here is that it is more blatant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily into having Batman kill everyone he comes across (because then they would have to make up some contrived reason why he doesn’t end up killing particularly people like The Joker). The reason that the killing works here for me is that there is actually a character arc around the killing. At the end of the film, Batman visits Lex at the prison but chooses not to brand him (like he did with many other criminals), basically meaning that he’s done with killing (or no doubt just done with killing in this blatant way, he’s going to somehow end up killing again in his next appearance like with the other versions of Batman). It was because of Superman’s sacrifice that he decided to make a change. Now for the controversial ‘Martha’ scene. I was not expecting the conflict between Batman and Superman being resolved through the revelation that their mothers had the same name (and on paper it doesn’t really sound good). At first I really didn’t know what to think of it. But after thinking about it for a while I think it is great, after all the reason that Batman doesn’t kill Superman isn’t because their mothers share have the same name, it’s because he realises that Superman is not just an all powerful dangerous single minded being. Throughout the majority of the movie, Batman believes that Superman is a complete threat to the world and not ‘human’ at all. In the moment where Lois tells Bruce that Martha is the name of Clark’s mother, he realises that he has a mother, he is a person. I do think it could’ve been handled slightly better but most of it works.

Snyder really made Batman a force to be reckoned with, his action scenes are nothing like we’ve seen in other Batman live action movies before. The widely praised warehouse sequence, praised by even people who heavily disliked the film, is a good example of this, with Batman taking on multiple criminals at the same time, mostly relying on his own fighting style which is a lot more brutal. It’s not just action scenes that conveys his strong presence, his first appearance was straight out of a horror film. Other decisions like with the voice modulator and his worn down simplistic costume really added to this portrayal. Also, Ben Affleck was excellent in the role of Batman, he blew me away with how great he was here. I’ve always liked Ben Affleck as an actor, but I had no idea what to expect from his Batman and he really surprised me here. He pulled off the charismatic side of Bruce Wayne, the broken and damaged side of Bruce, as well as Batman himself. In fact I think his best acting is during the Batman and Superman fight, when his metal helmet is damaged and his face is exposed, seeing Batman’s expressions while he was Batman was something we don’t usually get to see. Definitely an unexpectedly great casting decision, and an interesting take on the character. As for Ben Affleck, I think he’s the best Batman in a single live action film (however Christian Bale’s 3 Batman appearances combined is better than all of Ben’s Batman appearances, I personally blame Justice League). Hopefully Ben will get to reach BvS greatness once again in the Matt Reeves Batman movie (should he choose to return to the role).

Clark Kent’s story in Man of Steel’s was about him being ready for people to see him for what he is. In Batman v Superman, Superman is out there in the public eye, and his story is about him living in a world where people know about him and are reacting to him. Some of the reaction is positive, others are negative (Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne being examples of people who don’t take too kindly to him). In retrospect I can partially understand why his character did get some criticism, because a lot of his arc in this movie is cut in the Theatrical Cut. The Ultimate Edition fleshes out his story more, giving him a lot more screentime. It also included important scenes like Clark talking to his mother, Clark talking to the deceased branded criminal’s wife, Superman saving some people in the Capitol and the aftermath, all these are very important for his story arc and more clearly lays it out. However, I also think that part of the criticism is how Superman sort isn’t a huge hero, a criticism that was brought up in Man of Steel. Well he does save many people in Batman v Superman, he saves Lois a few times in the movie, he stops Doomsday, and there’s even a montage of him saving people like in the first act. I suspect it’s more the criticism that Superman isn’t constantly doing a lot of heroic things. For me that personal didn’t bother me, this movie was taking Clark on a particular arc and I liked it. In the real world, a powerful being like Superman would not be universally loved, there would be lots of concerns as to what he can do, should do and will do. BvS really tries to capture how we would react to someone like Superman, there are those who love him, and there are those who hate him and fear him. And before some people comment, no, DCEU’s Superman isn’t dark. He lives in a world which is dark but despite everything, he still rises up to be the hero. All things considered, Superman is the true hero in Batman v Superman, not Batman. Despite all that humanity does to him (especially Lex), Superman is willing enough to sacrifice himself for them. Henry Cavill is even better here than he was in Man of Steel. Cavill expertly brings out Clark’s inner emotions without requiring a lot of dialogue, you can just see what he feels. With two deep and conflicting stories that Superman has gone through in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, I have to say that Henry Cavill’s Superman, as directed by Zack Snyder, is my favourite interpretation of the character. Now I’m just wondering how he’s going to be handled in future Superman movies.

All the other characters I thought was great as well. Amy Adams was great as Lois (she gets a lot more to do in the Ultimate Edition with her investigating the desert incident and more, on top of saving Superman twice). Gal Gadot was solid as Wonder Woman, Holly Hunter as Senator Finch made an impression despite not playing a comic book character and Jeremy Irons stood out as Alfred Pennyworth (I hope we get to see a lot more of him in the solo Batman movies). Even Callan Mulvey made an impression as Lex Luthor’s henchman, overall everyone was great. But I really want to focus on Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Definitely a very divisive aspect of the film, with some finding him to be annoying and just a copy of Heath Ledger’s Joker (I guess any comic book villain who’s crazy is just trying too hard to be The Joker). Now I’m just going to avoid all the comic book accuracies arguments for a bit, and am going to focus on him in the movie itself. I for one loved his Lex, and I was one of the people who hated Jesse’s casting from day 1. He was somehow even more quirky and over the top than I expected but he still manages to come across as menacing and dangerous, especially on the rooftop with Superman. His plan is darker than most interpretations of Lex, and his motivations were more complex. Also on a side note, Jesse Eisenberg completely threw himself into this role and didn’t hold back, you can clearly see that he is having the time of his life as Lex, and I think it’s worth at least respecting how committed Eisenberg was to the role. Not that I care about comic accuracy but despite all the claims about this Lex not being comic accurate, he’s pretty much young Lex Luthor from a comic book called Superman Birthright. Snyder and Eisenberg have made a modernised Lex Luthor that works in today’s world. Now we will just have to see what is done with Lex in the Man of Steel sequels.

The direction by Snyder unsurprisingly is great. The cinematography by Larry Fong was so great, this is a beautiful and sleek looking movie. In contrast to Man of Steel, there isn’t a lot of shaky cam or zoom ins/outs, which was almost in a documentary style. The action, as expected from Zack Snyder is great. The CGI for the most part looks really great, with the exception of certain small bits which didn’t look fully polished. One thing I’d like to mention is how Snyder held back with the action for the most part. Before the third act with the BvS fight, warehouse sequence and the Doomsday fight, the only action scenes in the movie prior was the Metropolis flashback (if it counts as an action scene), the Knightmare sequence and the Batmobile sequence. Those sequences are big when they happen but for the first two acts this movie relies mostly on story, especially in the Ultimate Edition. The film is much more than just an action movie, it is also drama set in a superhero world. So, Snyder did hold back… until the last act which I’ll get to later. The music by Hans Zimmer was absolutely masterful and ranks among some of the best music work he’s done. From the opening “A Beautiful Lie”, to Lex Luthor’s theme ‘Red Capes are Coming” and Wonder Woman’s theme “Is She with You?”, all of it works so excellently. I guess maybe I would’ve liked to have had a slightly more distinct theme for Batman like Zimmer had done for Superman and Wonder Woman, but it’s still pretty good and has the right tone.

I need to touch on the Ultimate Edition for a bit. Now I have done a full review of the Ultimate Edition so I won’t linger on it too much. But I feel like I need to mention how much it improved the movie. It fixes plot holes (there is now an explanation for Superman not being able to stop the Capital Bombing), fleshes out Clark/Superman’s story, gives Lois a lot more to do and shows more of how large Lex’s plan was. Not to mention the scenes didn’t feel jarring especially in the first act, like it did in the Theatrical Cut. Even if the extended scenes have the same outcome from the theatrical version of the scenes, there’s much more time given, so it flows a lot smoother instead of just jumping from scene to scene every 2 minutes. The scenes are even ordered in a much better way. For example in the Ultimate Edition Bruce has his nightmare (with a Man-Bat-like creature), wakes up at the penthouse and then meets with Alfred before preparing to go to Lex’s party to steal some information. However in the Theatrical Edition, they put in Lois’s meeting with General Swanwick in the middle of that segment, which just feels jarring. I’m not exactly sure why they made some of the ordering decisions that they did. There are only a couple of reasons I can think of why WB cut 30 whole minutes form the film and that’s the runtime and the age rating. Blockbusters are rarely 3 hours long, but then again it’s worth considering that The Dark Knight Rises was 2 hours and 45 minutes long and that was still a hit. As for the age rating, the Ultimate Edition in America shouldn’t have been rated R (both version of the film have the same rating in New Zealand), it’s once again a case of bizarre MPAA ratings. For whatever reason that they did it, cutting out 30 whole significant minutes of footage was a major mistake, you should never try to change a Zack Snyder film, otherwise it will not work. I want to say that WB might’ve now learned not to repeat this mistake in future DCEU films like they did with BvS and Suicide Squad (the latter movie having even worse editing issues) but Justice League clearly proved me wrong.

Now that’s not to say that there’s no problems with this film. There are some plot points which weren’t handled as well as they could’ve. For example, in the Batman vs Superman sequence, I get that Bruce wouldn’t listen to what Clark had to say, but it could’ve been presented more clearly, because otherwise it seems like Clark could easily explain what was going on at the beginning of the scene. As for noting one of the lesser scenes of the movie, I’d have to say that it’s the scene when Bruce sends Diana videos of the other Justice League members. I did like that scene but there is not that much to gather from that scene, Cyborg’s cameo did hint at his role and his actual origin in Justice League, but the rest doesn’t have much. They could’ve implemented the scene better, or they shouldn’t have had that scene. However it didn’t bother me too much. A complaint that does get thrown around a lot was around the third act and how it changed tone and became a big action fest, which was different from the slower paced almost political thriller in the first two acts. While I still love the third act, I do partially agree with this. We’ve seen end fights with monsters plenty of times, but even though it surprisingly worked fine enough for BvS, it did feel slightly out of place here. And yes, Snyder does go big with his action here, the action (as expected) is incredible and entertaining to watch. It would’ve been nice to have the final act something a little more compelling than just another monster fight at the end but this final battle sequence was good enough for me (even though Batman really couldn’t do anything throughout it). Speaking of the third act, Doomsday is a heavily criticised part of the movie, and while I don’t think he was great, he did his part well enough. Maybe if it was a character deliberately created for the movie I would take more issue, but as he’s a comic book character and as Doomsday is pretty much just a mindless dangerous monster, I could look past that. The only part of it that I wished was better was the design, I think the CGI on him is for the most part good but he just looks so generic (hence all the comparisons to the cave troll in Lord of the Rings or Abomination from The Incredible Hulk). Outside of his basic design, I didn’t have too many problems with Doomsday. One aspect which is a little sad to look at now is all the aspects that set up for Justice League, because the Justice League movie completely ignored them, whether that be the Knightmare sequence or The Flash’s warning (but that’s for another awaited retrospective review).

No matter your thoughts on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there’s no denying that it had made a huge impact and impression when it was released. Batman v Superman was a breath of fresh air in the comic book genre for me, a film which decided to slow down with its story and take risks with its characters (not that no comic book movies do this, but it was a standout nonetheless). For most of the movie it’s like that, and on top of that there are some great action scenes, impressive performances and portrayals of iconic characters and a very unique story for these characters. Watchmen is still Zack Snyder’s masterpiece to me (as well as my favourite Comic Book Movie), but Batman v Superman is up there. As I said it still has some issues and if I looked at the Theatrical Cut I’d have a lot more unfavourable opinion of that version than the 3 times I saw them in cinemas (especially after seeing the Ultimate Edition and how these extra scenes added to the movie). But BvS nonetheless is an great comic book film in my eyes, and I do believe that this film (like Watchmen) will become loved much more as the years go on.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Review

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Time: 151 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander “Lex” Luthor
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Director: Zack Snyder

It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

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Click here for my review of the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the superior version of the film

Batman v Superman has been 3 years in the making and it has been my most anticipated movie of 2016 ever since its announcement. So much was riding on this movie to succeed, with it having to establish Batman, Wonder Woman with cameos from the Justice League, all in one film. Even though the film’s premiere received critical acclaim, the reviews started to worry me, with the Rotten Tomato score being around 30%. However after watching the movie, I have to say that I’m very satisfied with what we got in the end. The acting from its very talented cast and the direction from Zack Snyder was great, but it’s the script from writer Chris Terrio which ties it all together, and sets up the DC Cinematic Universe perfectly.

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When you compare Dawn of Justice to Man of Steel, you will notice how significantly the writing’s improved and that’s all thanks to Chris Terrio. This film doesn’t rely on a lot of action scenes to move the plot along like the previous movie, it really for the most part follows Clark and Bruce’s inner struggles as they are trying to find their place in the world as well as the conflict between them. I know from the reviews that this put people off as there’s not a whole lot of them saving the world or even physically fighting each other but I appreciate the risks that the movie took. This isn’t your typical comic book film. This movie had a lot of elements that they had to incorporate with the Justice League forming and I thought the film managed to pull it off quite well. As for the cameos of the other Justice League members, they were done well, to some they would probably feel a little forced but I have a feeling that was supposed to feel forced, it’s just a little taste of what’s to come. I will just say this, the final act is absolutely incredible, not only on an entertaining level but on an emotional level too, the ending is one of the best comic book endings I’ve ever seen, you’ll never see it coming.

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I will say that looking back at the film, there were some elements that felt missing. For example, one element that I wished the film delved deep into was Lex’s motivation. I’ll go onto the performance later but I have a feeling that there is a scene explaining Lex Luthor’s perspective on Superman that was missing, which is a shame as that would’ve made his character even more compelling. I know that there is a 3 hour cut that will come to Blu Ray, maybe that might fix the problems but for the most part the movie really works on its own. Now onto the elements that might divide some people. Ben Affleck’s Batman is very hardcore, this is like Dark Knight Returns and Thomas Wayne Flashpoint Batman. There are moments where his actions lead to many deaths and that might be hard for some viewers to stomach after Bale’s ‘no kill’ portrayal. Also this movie is 3 times darker than Man of Steel so if you found that movie hard to watch, you will be horrified with this movie. As I said before, this isn’t your typical comic book movie, it’s quite unconventional, so that might alienate some people.

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The performances were phenomenal. I’ll start with Henry Cavill, I have a feeling he will be forgotten as a result of being overshadowed by Affleck and he really shouldn’t. He was given a lot more to work with than in Man of Steel and after this movie, he is my personal favourite version of Superman. Unlike other versions there is a humanity and relatability that Cavill infuses that makes us really care for him, this was seen especially in his scenes with Lois played by Amy Adams, who was also great and shares better chemistry with him than in the previous film. No matter what anyone thinks about the movie, most people agree with one aspect, Ben Affleck was incredible as Batman. He was incredibly dark and has a history and every moment he’s on screen, Affleck sells it. His relationship with Alfred (played Jeremy Irons, who also does an excellent job) was also entertaining to watch, I just can’t wait for the Batman solo movies. Keaton’s and Bale’s Batman roles needed to perfectly play the Bruce Wayne and Batman roles, and both of them really did one aspect better than the other (Keaton did Batman better and Bale did Wayne better). Affleck was the first actor to nail both Bruce Wayne and Batman perfectly. We didn’t see a lot of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman but when she’s on screen she is great, and she stole the show in the third act. I’m now even more looking forward to seeing her solo movie next year.

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The other supporting cast was also great with Holly Hunter, Laurence Fishburne and others being quite good in this movie. The one divisive performance will be Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. If you thought he looked a little over the top in the 2nd trailer, just wait till you see how he is here. From my limited knowledge of Lex Luthor in the comics, he is quite different from this incarnation, but this was such a strong decision that I have a feeling he will be developed more as the films go on. I personally liked the performance, this was a more crazy portrayal of Lex Luthor, and he worked quite well for the film as he manipulates the dark knight and the man of steel to fight. However I can’t guarantee that you will love his performance, as his performance has so far divided many.

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As this is Zack Snyder directing, the visuals look very beautiful. One of my issues with Man of Steel was the cinematography, it adopted more of a handheld sort of camera work and while that worked for the most part, it could’ve been done better. This time, it has a much steadier direction as Snyder this time used his cinematographer from Watchmen. As I said earlier, there aren’t as many action scenes as there was in Man of Steel but all of them are done excellently. There are so many memorable scenes, the beautiful opening credits sequence, the flashback to Metropolis’s destruction from Bruce Wayne’s perspective, the Knightmare sequence (which features an incredible one take moment) and more. The fight between Batman and Superman, while a little short, was still enthralling to watch. The final act in its entirety was great, especially the final battle featuring the trinity. Last but not least is the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. All of it was great, from Batman’s theme, to Lex’s theme, to Superman’s theme as well as the fight between Batman and Superman. However I’ll just say that Wonder Woman’s theme was my favourite of the lot.

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From my first viewing, I can say that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is now one of my favourite comic book movies of all time. The performances were great, with standouts from Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg, Zack Snyder directed this movie beautifully and Chris Terrio gave even more depth to this movie than most would initially expect. Looking at the mixed reactions from both critics and fans, I’m not entirely sure if you will like this movie or not, and I can understand how some elements might rub people the wrong way. However I think you should watch it and make up your own mind about it. For me, this was an incredibly satisfying experience. Don’t wait for it to come out on Blu Ray, see it on the biggest screen that you can find as soon as possible.

Top 20 Anticipated Movies of 2016

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Because of the big Oscar movies coming out in January-March, I’ll hold off my best and worst of the year for February/March. 2016 will be a big year for movies. It will have many comic book movies, a Star Wars spin off, a Harry Potter spinoffs and some video game movies that might actually be good. Most of these movies look like they are going to be great but then again so did the movies on my most anticipated of 2015 list and many of them disappointed. So this time I’m looking at these movies from different angles and I do hope that they turn out to be good in the end.

Honourable Mentions

The Legend of Tarzan

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Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard), having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.

There has been a lot of live action Disney films, there’s another on the list that I’ll get to. This movie can go both ways, it could be good or could be a failure. I’m starting to feel a little sceptical of these types of movies, we recently had live action interpretations of Maleficent (the story of Sleeping Beauty from a different perspective) and Cinderella. The more modern live action Disney adaptations haven’t always been great, Alice for Wonderland (which is for some reason getting a sequel in 2016 as well) being an example. However given the cast and the director, I think that this movie has a shot at being at least decent. This movie stars such actors like Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson and will be directed by Harry Potter director David Yates. It’s strange since Yates is also directed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them so 2016 will be a big year for Yates. I’m still interested in this movie, I’m just not holding my breath on it.

The Legend of Tarzan is scheduled to be released on 1 July 2016

A Monster Calls

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The monster does not come walking often. This time it comes to Connor, and it asks for the one thing Connor cannot bring himself to do. Tell the truth. This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged, guilty and mostly angry. He struggles at school with bullies, and pity looks from everyone, and at home with his mother’s sickness. Will Connor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Connor be able to speak the truth?

All I know is the cast and the director and that A Monster Calls is based on a short story. The cast is pretty big with Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Toby Kebbell. The director is J.A. Bayona who did The Orphanage and The Impossible and although I haven’t seen The Orphanage, his work on The Impossible was tremendous. The teaser trailer also intrigued me, there is quite a bit of mystery that it had and I am interested. However my lack of knowledge is probably the reason that it doesn’t make my top 20.

A Monster Calls is scheduled to be released on 14 October 2016

The BFG

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A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.

It’s strange that A Monster Calls and The BFG have very similar teaser trailers. My main interest in this movie is of course the fact that Steven Spielberg is directing. I haven’t actually read the BFG novel, so I don’t know what I’m in for, which is probably why I’m not as hyped to see this movie even though it is Spielberg. However I am still interested in checking this movie out.

The BFG is scheduled to be released on 1 July 2016

Una

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Two people who once had a passionate affair meet again fifteen years later. Ray (Ben Mendelsohn) is confronted with his past when Una (Rooney Mara) arrives unannounced at his office, and they are forced to revisit their relationship. Ray has made a new life for himself. Una is looking for answers. What follows in this emotional thriller is an unflinching excavation of damaged love. The consequences are shattering.

I’ll be honest, it was Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn’s involvement that caught my interest in this movie. The plot is pretty daring and I was surprised to hear that it was already a stage play. This looks to be a dialogue driven movie and seeing as how it is these two great actors leading the movie, I’m very interested and although I don’t know that much about the movie, just the two lead actors are enough to get me interested.

20. The Jungle Book

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This was the second live action Disney movie that I was referring to when I was talking about Tarzan. I was surprised when I heard that there was going to be a live action Jungle Book movie. Jungle Book doesn’t seem like it could translate well as a live action film. From the trailer and the fact that Jon Faverau is directing this though, I’m starting to think that this film might be really good.

An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

This movie also has voice work from Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken and many other great actors working on the film. I think overall I’m more interested in this movie than Tarzan because visually it looks fascinating and because of how hard it will be to pull off. I just hope that this movie doesn’t result in a live action adaptation of The Lion King, we really don’t need that to be a thing.

The Jungle Book is scheduled to be released on 15 April 2016

19. Warcraft

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Video game movies are at best enjoyable (Mortal Kombat) and at worst painful (Any Uwe Boll video game movie). Mortal Kombat is really the best video game movie we have and that’s not saying a lot. 2016 might be the year when that changes however. Warcraft has some great people working on it and it has a pretty good trailer to showcase it. Duncan Jones, who directed Moon and Source Code (the latter which I’ve seen), is doing this movie and his involvement has me thinking that he has something special planned with the movie. I haven’t played World of Warcraft so this is all new to me but I’m still interested and I hope that it is actually good.

The film portrays the origin story of the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs, with an emphasis upon both the Alliance’s and the Horde’s sides of their conflict. Featuring characters such as Durotan and Lothar, the film will take place in a variety of locations established in the video game series.

The only thing that the movie has to overcome is that a lot of it is CGI. Don’t get me wrong, this movie probably can’t avoid that. I just hope that it doesn’t get tiresome and that it can have a great story attached to it. The trailer makes it look like it has a story and less ‘videogamey’ than most of the other video game movies. I hope that is the case with the entire movie.

Warcraft is scheduled to be released on 10 June 2016

18. Kung Fu Panda 3

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It seems like the only sequels that are guaranteed to be good and mostly likely better than the original are from animated movies. Toy Story, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda have shown that. I really liked the first Kung Fu Panda and I loved the sequel even more so it makes sense that the third film would be even better.

When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas.

There really isn’t that much to talk about Kung Fu Panda 3. It’s the second sequel to a good animated film and I’m interested in seeing how it delivers. Also Bryan Cranston and J.K. Simmons will be in this movie voicing some characters. Although it’s not really high on my radar I am interested in seeing Kung Fu Panda 3, and I’m sure it will deliver in being a great movie and better than the previous two instalments.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is scheduled to be released on 29 January 2016

17. Hail Caesar!

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I generally like the Coen Brothers but haven’t seen many of their movies. The movies I’ve seen by them I really liked though (with the exception of Raising Arizona). Looking at the cast, the director and the premise alone, this has the potential to be a fantastic movie.

A Hollywood fixer (Josh Brolin) springs into action when a movie star (George Clooney) gets kidnapped and an actress becomes pregnant.

This movie has Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johannsson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fieness, Jonah Hill and many more popular actors, it’s ridiculous how huge this cast is. This movie is one of the Coen Brothers’ comedies, with a bit of mystery in it. As I said before I haven’t watched many of the Coen Brothers’ movies but most of them delivered in what they set out to do. I have a feeling Hail Caesar will do the same.

Hail Caesar! is scheduled to be released on 5 February 2016

16. Assassins Creed

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It’s weird when I’m living at a time when two video game movies are some of my most anticipated movies of the year. With Warcraft, it’s pretty clear that movie will be visually appealing at the very least. But what about a movie that has a focussed story with not as much fantasy elements? It didn’t seem like Assassins Creed would be a great adaptation. However the fact that this stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and is directed by Justin Kurzel (who worked with both Fassbender and Cotillard on Macbeth), makes me think that this might be something interesting.

Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.

As I said earlier, I initially thought that it would just be another ‘fun’ video game movie and that there probably wouldn’t be a lot of depth put into the movie. This movie not only attracted the director of 2015’s Macbeth, but actors like Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson, which makes me think that Kurzel has something interesting planned. From what I can tell, this film won’t be based on any of the Assassins Creed videogames but will be pretty similar. Often video game movies are restricted to their story, which can often lead to their failure and having an original story is probably the best way to go. From what I can see this movie could be something special but only time will tell if it will actually deliver. If both Warcraft and Assassins Creed end up to be great than there might be a resurgence in video game movies (hopefully for the better).

Assassins Creed is scheduled to be released on 21 December 2016

15. John Wick 2

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2014’s John Wick was one of the year’s best surprises, not only was it Keanu Reeves’s best performance (and in my opinion his best movie), it was also a very fun movie with a great world. I personally would’ve liked to have seen a prequel, to show some of John’s previous adventures before but looking at the world that the first film established, I think there’s plenty of opportunities for a fun movie.

Thankfully, one of the two John Wick directors Chad Stahelski (the other is David Leitch who is instead working on The Coldest City) is returning for the sequel, one of the best aspects of that original film is how the action was done. Instead of a lot of shaky cam, close up shots and fast cuts to create their action like a lot of modern action movies use, they let us to actually see the action unfold, allowing us to get more into it. Common is playing the villain, and he was effective as a villain in Run All Night (even though he could’ve been used more), so I think he will be quite effective here. I sure do hope that it lives up to the previous movie, the only possible way that I think this film could be flawed is that only one of the director is returning, we can only hope that one of the directors can deliver the same amount (if not more) as the previous film.

14. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Star Wars isn’t the only franchise to have spin offs in 2016. Harry Potter gets its own spin offs, following a briefly mentioned character in the books, Newt Scamander. This film will be ‘at least’ part of a trilogy, with an instalment being released every 2 years. This is definitely a movie I’m interested in as it’s not only part of the Harry Potter universe, it is also expanding it.

The adventures of writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

David Yates will be directing this movie and seeing as he directed many of the Harry Potter films, I think he’ll do a good job. One advantage to this film over the Harry Potter films is that although it’s based on a character in the same universe, this is an original film and not based on any of the books, so it won’t receive criticism for ‘not being accurate to the book’. It also helps that the script is written by J.K. Rowling, and because she knows the Harry Potter universe better than anyone else, it is safe to say that it’s in the right hands. Eddie Redmayne has been making quite a name for himself with performances in movies such as The Theory of Everything and I think that he will be even more known after the release of this film. This movie will probably explore more of the wizarding world and has no limitations, there are no strings attached. I have no idea what the plot is yet but because it’s connected to the Harry Potter universe I’m already sold.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled to be released on 18 November 2016

13. The Neon Demon

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I’ve seen one of director Nicolas Winding Refn’s films, Drive, and was very impressed by what I saw. One thing that you can definitely count on him is that the film will look great, and the cast looks quite good.

When aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

Although I haven’t seen the movie, the trailer for Only God Forgives looks very nightmare esque, and ever since then I’ve thought that Winding Refn’s style would be great for a horror film and it’s great to see him actually doing it. It’s also got a pretty good cast, with Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning and Jena Malone. But mainly it was Nicolas Winding Refn’s involvement that interested me, Drive was a fantastic movie and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does with this.

12. Bourne 5

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Not much is known about the upcoming Bourne film, which sees Matt Damon returning (not Jeremy Renner) as Jason Bourne as well as Bourne Supremacy and Bourney Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass. But just the fact that those two are returning, as well as the fact that we are getting another Bourne movie excites me a lot.

Paul Greengrass is a great director of action and seeing him return with Damon to the Bourne franchise is really exciting. This movie also has a great cast with Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones as well as Vincent Cassel as the main villain. As I said before, nothing yet is known about the plot but the fact that it was a Bourne movie intrigued me by default.

Bourne 5 is scheduled to be released on 29 July 2016

11. Star Trek Beyond

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Star Trek returns for its third movie in the rebooted franchise. I’ve liked the previous two movies and I’m interested in seeing how it is, with a few doubts in mind though. From the trailer it seems much more action packed (as if the past movies weren’t action packed enough) but at the same time I’m not complaining. Its only problems is the direction they’re going in but we’ll find out when the movie is finally released.

Stranded on a hostile planet, Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the Enterprise crew face an alien threat.

The cast from the previous two instalments will be in this movie, which of course I’m happy with. These actors played very well off each other and it will be entertaining to see them in this movie. I am also excited with the fact that Idris Elba will be playing the main villain, it’s a hard act to follow Benedict Cumberbatch but I’m certain that he will be great. Because of his involvement in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams isn’t involved in the making of this film, instead we have Fast and Furious director James Wan. While I do like a lot of his movies, I’m not exactly sure that he’s the best guy for the job. From the trailers, it seemed a little like Fast and Furious in space, however seeing as how Star Trek Beyond writer and actor Simon Pegg didn’t like the trailer and says there’s more to come, the trailer is probably the product of mis-marketing. I’m still interested to see how this plays out, I just hope that Justin Lin can make a film as good as the previous two instalments.

Star Trek Beyond is scheduled to be released on 22 July 2016

10. Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange is a big risk on the part of Marvel as it’s going to a direction that it hasn’t gone before – magic. However if it’s anything that Thor, Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy has proven, Marvel can do no wrong (and yes, I enjoyed Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World).

After his career is destroyed, a brilliant but arrogant surgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wing and trains him to defend the world against evil.

Benedict Cumberbatch is on the rise and it’s only natural that he’s finally playing a comic book character. There was a recent picture of him as Doctor Strange and he looks great, it looks exactly like he does in the comic books and I am hyped to see how he does in the movie. This movie also has Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, Chiwetal Ejiofor as Baron Mordo as well as Mads Mikkelsen possibly starring as a villain (hopefully Dormammu). I think that this film is going to be very different from the Marvel movies, seeing as how director Scott Derrickson had directed movies like Sinister and Deliver Us from Evil, both horror movies. This is a bit of a wild card for Marvel, but I’m pretty sure that we will be getting something special that can expand the MCU.

Doctor Strange is scheduled to be released on 4 November 2016

9. The Disaster Artist

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The Disaster Artist is the story behind The Room, one of the worst movies of all time. Although I haven’t seen all of it, I’ve seen many scenes from it and it is definitely something I want to check out. This movie is based off the book of the same name by Greg Sestero, actor from The Room and friend of Tommy Wiseau, the star, writer, producer and director of The Room. I myself have read the book, and was fascinated in how the making of the film went. This adaptation has the potential to be a modern day Ed Wood.

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003).

The Disaster Artist has a great cast, with James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, Dave Franco as Greg Sestero as well as Josh Hutcherson, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron and others playing real life people who worked on The Room. From the set photos, the actors even looked like the characters/people, so I think that they are doing it right. I think my biggest concern is how Franco can portray Tommy. Look at any clips of The Room, Wiseau acts a certain way and it’s hard to act like Tommy Wiseau without making it look like an imitation. Franco also has to nail the inner emotions of Tommy, as there are moments in the book where there are moments where that happens. I’ve been hearing about this movie for a while and seeing it finally get made is really exciting.

8. Story of Your Life

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Denis Villeneuve has been making a great career recently with films like Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario (I still have to see that last one). I don’t know much about the plot but apparently it’s based on a short story. Just the fact that Denis Villeneuve is directing a movie made me very interested alone. Denis’s films are usually set in reality so it will be interesting to see him taking on a Sci-Fi film. I think it will be a realistic take on this type of story that has been done many times before.

Taking place after alien crafts land around the world, an expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat.

The movie also has a great cast, which consists of Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker. Once again I don’t know much about what the movie is about but the director, the cast and the premise are enough to get me interested to seeing the movie on the big screen.

7. Silence

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Last year I had Silence on my most anticipated movies of 2015 list. However it looks like it will be released in 2016. My thoughts on the movie are pretty much what I said back then so I might as well show what I thought to begin with:

Martin Scorsese is one of my favourite directors and has so far never failed in making a great movie. He just directs everything with style and every movie he makes feels complete, so naturally I would be very interested in him making a new movie. This type of story is much different than his previous film The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s more closely related to Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ. I haven’t read the book it’s based on but nonetheless, I’m hyped to see it.

Two Jesuit priests, Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francis Garrpe (Adam Driver), travel to track down their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) in seventeenth century Japan which has, under the Tokugawa shogunate, banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact. There they witness the persecution of Japanese Christians at the hands of their own government which wishes to purge Japan of all western influence. The film also stars Tadanobu Asano.

Silence is based off the book of the same name by Shūsaku Endō which is a historical fiction novel set in the 17th century. I’m looking forward to what Scorsese can bring to this movie, he has some good material to adapt and work with. The film also has a great cast, particularly Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver and I’m looking forward to seeing their performances. Everything I’ve heard so far about Silence is great and I can’t wait to see it when it comes out.

Silence is scheduled to be released in 2016

6. Deadpool

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Fox’s non X-Men superhero movies aren’t really good (Fantastic Four, Origins Wolverine), which is why I was nervous about Gambit, directed by Doug Liman and starring Channing Tatum. It has potential but it has the problem with it being a standalone Fox movie, it didn’t make the list because it is very unlikely that it will be released in 2016, it’s more likely to be released in 2017. Deadpool however looks like it might break the mold and become something great. Ever since the Deadpool test footage was leaked, people have been hyped to see him portrayed on screen. This will be groundbreaking for the comicbook genre, an R rated superhero movie, which hasn’t been done since Blade.

Based upon Marvel Comics most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Although I was initially sceptical of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (because X-Men Origins Wolverine wasn’t a great movie) from everything that I’ve seen, I don’t think anyone else is as well suited for the role. It is going to be an R-rated superhero movie, and may lead the way for more of these types of movies. On top of that, the film looks like it’s doing the character justice, just based on the marketing alone. It will be the first comic book movie of 2016 and I am really looking forward to how it turns out.

Deadpool is scheduled to be released on 12 February 2016

5. X-Men Apocalypse

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The X-Men franchised returned to form with 2014’s X-Men Days of Future Past. Bryan Singer (director of X Men, X Men 2 and X Men Days of Future Past) is returning to deliver what is probably the darkest entry in the X-Men universe. It will be the end of the trilogy featuring the newer cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, etc) and it will feature one of the X Men’s biggest foes, Apocalypse. Everything looks perfect, the cast, the director, the characters used, I find it hard to imagine a world where X Men Apocalypse isn’t a great movie.

Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshiped as a god. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

The film will have younger versions of older mutants, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and introduce many new characters like Jubilee, Psylocke and of course one of the X-Men’s most dangerous enemies, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). I’ve not seen Oscar Isaac in much, I’ve seen him in The Force Awakens and Drive and from that I can tell that he’s a great actor, so I think he will do a phenomenal job as seen in the trailer. As I said earlier, it will end the trilogy of the newer cast (X-Men First Class, X-Men Days of Future Past and X-Men Apocalypse). X Men Apocalypse from the trailer looks great and seeing everything unfold will be a real treat.

X-Men Apocalypse is scheduled to be released on 27 May 2016

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars: Rogue One L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm 2016

Rogue One is the first live action anthology movie in the Star Wars universe. This is very intriguing and I think that it will pave the way for more spin offs, with a Han Solo spin off in the works and potentially and Obi Wan Kenobi and a Boba Fett spin off. I loved The Force Awakens but I hope that there is a strong distinction between the trilogies and Rogue One. It needs to stand on its own as a great movie, with maybe some references to the other films and potentially a cameo from Darth Vader.

Rebels set out on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

Rogue One really interests me because from what I can tell, this is going to be a very different Star Wars movie. It’s pretty much a war movie and from this picture, it can be seen that it’s going to be gritty and realistic. With Godzilla (2014) director Gareth Edwards directing it and a cast which features such actors like Felicity Jones, Forrest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen, I’m hyped.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is scheduled to be released on 16 December 2016.

3. Suicide Squad

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Suicide Squad initially looked like DC’s biggest risk (we’ll get to the biggest risk later). It has a lot of characters that most audiences don’t know of, except for maybe Harley Quinn and of course The Joker. However given the fact that more people have viewed the Suicide Squad trailer than the Comic Con Batman V Superman trailer released around the same time indicates that more and more people are learning about this movie, and are being intrigued by it.

A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

This film is definitely taking a more realistic take on the comic book genre, which could be seen as David Ayer is the director, who did films such as Fury, End of Watch and Sabotage. The film also has perfect casting from Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie (who I’m sure will steal the show) to Will Smith as Deadshot. It’s great that we can finally have villains as the main characters in a comic book movie. We will also get a bit of Jared Leto’s Joker, who I’m sure will do a phenomenal job. Although I was a little worried with his look at first, I think that it’s a very different take on the Joker that I think could be great and potentially the scariest Joker performance. I think that his overall design is nothing that we’ve seen before and it could actually work for the film. Except for that ‘Damaged’ tattoo on his forehead.

Suicide Squad is scheduled to be released on 5 August 2016.

2. Captain America: Civil War

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This film has the potential to be the best movie yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is so far my favourite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it would only make sense that a film which has one of the biggest events in the Marvel Comics would be the best in the series.

After another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

Civil War for those who don’t know is a major event in the Marvel Comics, the film will be different from the comics however. Civil War in the comics were about superhero registration but in the film it will be more about world governments demanding accountability and oversight of superheroes, probably because identities don’t exist in this universe and the MCU isn’t that big. However this will still have the aspect of the Avengers split in two (except for Thor and Hulk, who will star in 2017’s Thor Ragnarok), Captain America’s team and Iron Man’s team. This film also introduces Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Tom Holland as the (Sony) Spiderman and (hopefully good for a change) villain Baron Zemo played by Daniel Bruhl. This film looks like it may be the darkest movie entry in the MCU and like Winter Soldier, will have significant consequences on the rest of the movies.

Captain America: Civil War is scheduled to be released on 6 May 2016

1. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

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I would never predict years ago that there would ever be a crossover between DC heroes. This film is written by Chris Terrio (Argo) and with his involvement, this film looks to be a great film. Even though I’m looking forward to this film the most, it’s also the film that I’m most nervous about. Suicide Squad has a better chance of succeeding because its biggest risk is having a lot of characters that most people don’t know, but that has been done well in the past (Guardians of the Galaxy). Other comic book movies that have so much in it have failed however, so with Batman fighting Superman, fighting a ‘threat’ (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen the latest trailer) as well as the forming of the Justice League (and cameos from Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg), this film could end up as a disaster. However if this movie succeeds, it could end up as one of the best superhero movies to date.

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’ most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Man of Steel was a very dividing movie and one of the most divisive elements for some was the destruction of Metropolis. This film is taking that aspect and making it the catalyst for bringing Batman to fight Superman. The writing was really the weakest aspect of Man of Steel but with Chris Terrio writing the script, I have a feeling that there is something special. Although I was initially sceptical with Ben Affleck playing Batman, after seeing the trailers he has the potential to be the best live action Batman yet.

Now there are some things that I’m still not certain about. We don’t know what Wonder Woman’s part in this film will be, we don’t know how the film will introduce the Justice League without it being rushed and Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor, although I’m starting to see him in the role, I’m not completely sold on him yet. There’s also potential for this film to feel bloated, with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor and cameos from Aquaman, Cyborg and potentially The Flash. It’s my most anticipated movie of 2016 but out of all of the movies on the list, it has a lot of potential to fail, and we can only hope that it delivers in the end.

Batman V Superman is scheduled to be released on 25 March 2016