In the 10 Ring: Gunslinger45's Reviews

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"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

In 1978 Richard Donner made the world believe that a man could fly. In 2013, Zack Snyder makes you believe that maybe Superman Returns was not so bad. THERE! I SAID IT! Superman Returns is still a horrible movie, I will always stand by that fact, but good lord Zack Snyder is making it hard for me to decide which one is worse! Yes Henry Cavill looks like Superman a lot more then the emo Superman done by Brandon Routh, but this man failed to make Superman his role in this remake. And dare I say it... Routh may have acted more like Superman in Superman Returns. The incoming review will include fanboy ramblings. Profanity will be used, and I have been drinking at the time I wrote this. You have been warned.

The story begins with the well known fate of Krypton: the planet is doomed, and Jor-El sends his only son Kal-El to Earth, where he will grow up to be the Man of Tomorrow. Apparently that was not enough. General Zod wants the Codex (a Kyptonian McGuffin) because he feels he can save the planet. Jor-El calls Zod a mad man, Jor-El sends the Codex to Earth because Zod is a bastard, and Zod gets pissed before getting banished to the Phantom Zone. And of course Krypton gets destroyed. Now the Zod story is familiar to anyone who saw Superman II, so that is fine; but why in the hell did we need a scene where Jor-El is riding on some winged creature like he was in f**king Avatar, and why the monkey f**k did they include the ***** about how Kryptonians now reproduce via genetic engineering as opposed to natural child birth? Anyway Zod breaks free and wants to start a new Krypton on Earth, and he will destroy all life on Earth to do so.

The first problem with this movie is the tone; it is dark and bleak, defiantly a Nolan influence. Which is great for a character like Batman, but this is Superman! The beacon of hope and moral compass for the DC universe! He is the polar opposite of Batman! Batman bases his super hero career on his enemies fearing him; Superman’s super hero MO is public trust. People trust him because he is Superman. And there is no trust at all between the people and Superman. Okay naturally there are going to be people freaked out by a flying guy in a cape who can bench press a semi truck, but save enough people from a few bank robbers or some kind of disaster that are all too common in Metropolis and you are going to get public support. Hell the Donner movie nailed it when Superman sat down and did an interview with Lois! An open dialogue and public trust with the people! In this movie they fear him like a rogue nation! Bruce Timm shows the proper difference in tone with the two animated series he did for Warner Brothers, and it was reflected in the animation. Batman: The Animated Series was very dark and gothic, much like the character.

While the Superman animated series was much brighter; the sun was out; and oh yeah he works out in the open and not the shadows.

But instead of trying to show the proper tone for this Superman movie, they instead opted to cut and paste from the Nolan Batman franchise.

The second big problem with this movie, they REALLY screwed over the Kent Family. For those who do not know, John and Martha Kent are the Kansas couple who found and raised young Kal-El as their own child. They were the ones who taught him their Mid-West values and morals that have guided Superman thought out his days as a crime fighter and defender of Earth. In other words, they are the reason that Superman is who he is. In this movie they play second banana to Jor-El who becomes the main driving force in Clark’s mission and moralistic template. As such the Kent’s get the shaft, including a HORRIBLE scene where a young Clark Kent is arguing with his father over whether he should have saved a school bus that fell into a river. He asks “Should I have just let them die?” Pa Kent actually says “Maybe.” This was one of the first major red flags I had when I first started watching trailers for this movie. Since we have established that it was the Kent’s who are responsible for Clark being the boy-scout he is, Pa Kent would NEVER say something like this! Instead in this movie it is the consciousness of Jor-El that gives Superman his direction and even has a costume waiting for him. Which makes me wonder how the hell he would know his son’s measurements; all before I start missing Marlon Brando. In addition, Superman views himself as an Earthling first! To have his dead alien father play a bigger role in his character development then the Kents, reflects that this director has no concept of who this character is. And why in the hell does Pa Kent have to die in a damn twister and Clark feels guilty about not being able to save him! He is Superman, NOT SPIDER-MAN! Speaking of which, why in the hell did they portray Clark as a nerd in high school and being picked on? CLARK PLAYED SPORTS! The guy was a straight A student yes, but liked to played football too! Once again, HE IS NOT SPIDER-MAN!

In addition to the issues above, this movie tries to cram WAY too much into this movie! It tries to retell Superman’s origin, show his childhood, have him wander the nation as he makes his way north, brood, finally get to the abandoned space ship frozen in the Arctic, learn his true origins, THEN he has to fight Zod all the while earning the trust of Earth’s people. And that is not including side plots and characters like Lois Lane and Perry White, Lois’ initial story on Superman, and then the leak of said story via the internet. The film feels like it is going too fast, and for a 2 and a half hour movie that is saying something. If you are going to have this much in your movie either trim out some stuff, simplify the script, or make the movie longer by maybe twenty minutes. I feel here they tried to take a page out of the Batman Begins playbook and go with a main villain who they could tie into the character’s origin story. But if they were going to do that, why choose Zod? Not only has Zod had his go in the movies, but in this movie he brings in all the eugenics ***** they made up, and a lot of other bullsh!t the writers pulled out of their ass. The movie suffers greatly from these issues, and that is sad since this could have been avoided since Superman has an EXCELLENT rogue’s gallery! If they wanted a character that is tied to Krypton, then they should have gone with Brainiac. Have him be an AI program on Krypton who leaves the planet before it blows to fulfill his programming to record and store all knowledge. Mention he destroys planets after he catalogs the data, give him an android body and a robot army and you have a main villain. And it makes the story far less convoluted (by comic book standards at least). But if you want to go another way you still have lots of other great villains to choose like Parasite, Metallo, or Solomon Grundy. Each could easily be fit into a 2 and a half hour movie and been done better than Zod!

To top this movie off you have other gripes like… why the hell do they not call him Superman until the third act of the damn movie? Why is the Clark Kent alter ego established at the very end? Why the f**k do they have Lois to track down Superman to Smallville and find out his secret identity before he even makes his official debut to the world! What the hell?!?!? And oh yeah…

WARNING: "WTF Snyder Spoilers" spoilers below

Way to f**k up the mythos Snyder! And while some people say the film goes all Michael Bay at the end of the film for the third act, I have to disagree. All the gripes I have with Bay (see my Pain and Gain review) Bay at least has a talent for putting together 3rd act action sequences that are interesting. Even in the Transformers movies which I hate! This movie failed to excite me in that regard. So Snyder fails at storytelling and doing the only thing that Michael Bay actually does pretty well. And this is very disappointing since he did a great job with his adaptation of 300, and I hear a lot of people really liked his Watchmen movie.

What is most disappointing is that this is the movie that Warner Brothers wanted to use to kick off a Justice League movie in the same mold as The Avengers. Problem is, instead of Iron Man we got yet another botched DC hero on the big screen. And if this does make a butt load of cash, then any future Justice League movie will more then likely be of similar poor quality.

This is a bad movie. No two ways about it. If you are a Superman fan and want to watch a live action movie, I say revisit the first two Donner movies. But all hope is not lost. Marvel may rule the silver screen with their live action adaptations, but DC rules the animated worlds of both TV and movies. The Bruce Timm animated series for the WB and the Justice League cartoons that aired on Cartoon Network are awesome and are available on DVD. Either that or you have direct to DVD animated features like Superman/Batman Apocalypse, Superman/Batman Public Enemies, or Superman: Doomsday which are far superior as Superman stories and far more entertaining than this movie!

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Really enjoyed the review Gunslinger. Reminded me of my own reviews when it comes to superhero flicks which descend into fanboy ramblings.

Or in this case fanboy rage! lol This review brought to you Colt 45 Malt Liquor, because internet ramblings are better with booze!

Just like this movie was brought to you by Nokia, Gillette, IHOP, Sears and Nikon. Srsly SO hamfisted the product placement!

Well fellow MoFos, I know we are not even half way through the summer movie season, but I think we have my selection for the worst movie of the summer. And when you take into mind I have seen The Purge, this should say something. And to be honest, that is not surprising given the production history of this film. This movie had a very shaky production marked with frequent clashes between director Marc Forester and lead actor / producer Brad Pitt. In addition, the film had little sense of direction. Initially the movie was written to be a more faithful adaptation to the book, which would include the main character interviewing survivors of the now over zombie apocalypse. But then the script was re-written multiple times by different screen writers. In fact the whole third act had to be re-written in post and massive reshoots followed. Part of the re-writing process included turning the movie into a summer blockbuster, a move that was no doubt motivated out of the fact that the movie started out with a 125 million dollar budget, but ended up ballooning to 200 million bucks. And in order to achieve that goal a lot of the political over tones of the film were taken out, including a final shoot out that was supposed to be set in Moscowís Red Square. You can see this fact is evident when you watch the trailer and Brad Pitt is asking how does he can get into Russia, but in the movie Russia is never mentioned. Now many a rough production has bore fruit, just ask Francis Ford Coppola about Apocalypse Now and Steven Spielberg with Jaws. Problem is Marc Forester is nowhere near as good as those cinema legends.

The film opens with lots of media clips cut together in a similar fashion as Zack Snyderís Dawn of the Dead remake. It details a few stories that are supposed to lay the ground work for the film with a few references to a new strange virus very similar to rabies surfacing. The film then cuts to Philadelphia, even though these scenes were actually filmed in downtown Glasgow Scotland. A choice made due to the lack of tax credits to shoot in the city of brotherly love. JayDee your thoughts are required on this choice. Brad Pitt plays former UN investigator Gerry Lane. He is driving with his family through the city when a massive panic begins to occur. People start running for their lives and the Lane family begins to flee for their very lives. The Lane family eventually escapes Philadelphia, make their way to Newark, get evacuated to a US Naval Carrier, and then Gerry is tasked with tracking down patient zero with the plot growing more and more convoluted as time passes. This is due to the rewrites. But now that I have the very basics of the plot out of the way, letís find out why this movie is terrible.

First off I have to get this out of the way real quick. To say that this movie is a horrible adaptation is an understatement. Anyone who read the book and watched the first trailer could pick that out from the get go. The book was a group of survivors telling their stories of survival in the form of a series of interviews. This movie starts from Z Day and goes from there like most other zombie movies. Which makes me sad because not only does this make this movie more generic, this movie also happens to be a failure of a zombie movie. To try and compare it to classics like the original Dawn of the Dead or modern takes like 28 Days Later would be unfair, as this is billed as more of an action movie then a horror movie. Instead a more proper comparison to the Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead, and a few other action horror titles will be used for comparison. So when comparing the two zombie movies, what is the first difference you see? The rating! The Dawn of the Dead remake was a hard R while this movie is PG-13. Zombies are creatures that are flesh eating monsters that attack as a horde and rip people limb from limb devouring flesh. They are by their very nature violent and gory. They are NOT PG-13 material! This movie has no gore in it. Hell it barely has any blood in it! Even in scenes that call for blood and gore! In one scene Gerry cuts off the arm of an Israeli soldier to stop it from getting infected. The action is framed with the amputation done just out of frame. And even when they apply the bandage to the stump, the bandage does not even have any blood on it! Which is absolutely ridiculous since he does not even use a damn tourniquet! There should be blood all over the damn place! Another scene has Gerry bashing a zombie over the head with a crowbar, done entirely in frame, and there is no blood. Not even CGI blood! It is like he hit it in the head and it just fell to the ground like in a cartoon. In fact this movie goes out of its way to avoid showing violence on screen to protect its PG-13 rating. In one scene a doomed man looks at a propeller for a plane and begins to walk towards it. Now the way the shot is set up you would expect the man to walk into the spinning propeller to his death, instead he just blows his brains out off screen. Because Heaven forbid a zombie movie is gory! In addition this movie also fails at making the zombies scary. They have certain actors over do the menace so much, that the performance becomes comical. The entirety of the theater started laughing at one female zombie who was on screen! Even the action movie elements fall flat, feeling more like a Roland Emmerich disaster movie then an action horror film. Give Zack Snyder credit for reinventing the original Dawn of the Dead movie that places more emphasis on the action, but still keeps the zombies scary and one a small enough scale we still connect with the main characters. This feels like the movie 2012 with zombies! It was hard enough to get invested in that movie! Mostly due to the lack of Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and Will Smith. So these zombies are not scary, there is no gore, the action movie premise was replaced a sub par disaster flick. Way to go studio executives!

In addition, the story is a complete mess. After Gerry gets to the Naval Carrier, he is now tasked with the goal of finding the origin of the virus. The problem is he has no reason to do so. A doctor character on the ship is presented as being their brightest mind when it comes to pathogens and a hope for a cure. The plan is to infiltrate a base in South Korea where they believe they can find some answers with the help of some Navy SEALís. Now the reason Gerry is told he is going is because he will help the scientist survive in the harsh environments. My question is isnít that the job of the SEALs? I mean correct me if I am wrong who is more qualified to keep the golden boy alive, a group of highly trained dedicated infantry combat killers, or one former UN Investigator? Furthermore why in the hell are they even asking this guy to do this? When I think UN investigator I think of a guy in a three piece suit asking to see where Kim Jung Il keeps his WMDs not a guy who is sent into combat zones. These questions are made even funnier when the movie itself points out the plot holes. THAT IS MY JOB! Maybe if they had Pitt play a CIA agent sent to gather intelligence with the doctor then I can buy it, but they donít. So the movie is having him go with them simply because the script says so. Letís contrast this with a good movie. In Aliens, Ripley is a non-combative sent to colony LV 426 because she is being asked to be a consultant to a xenomorph threat only she has experience with. Burke goes too because he represents the corporate interest in this movie and acts as means to comment on corporate greed. Gerryís entire purpose in the film is he in the mechanism to globe hop to the next action scene. I am not even joking, and half the time the reasons to go to these new locations are either very weak, or look promising but are then explained away with nonsensical explanations. For example: Gerry goes to Israel because ten days before the outbreak, Israel constructs a safe zone with massive walls to keep out the zombies. This looks promising enough until you find out the reason why. The reason they construct this wall is because one Indian general puts the term ďundeadĒ into a report when dealing with a national crisis. Now a sane human being would ask, ďWhy the hell would a country construct a giant fortification because of one foreign generalís report?Ē The movie actually points out this plot hole as well with a very convoluted explanation saying it was a safeguard against unforeseen circumstances because no one foresaw the Holocaust, the Munich terrorists, or the Yom Kippur sneak attacks. In other words it was a BS means of moving the plot along and removing any political content for a broad foreign audience.

The movie also has a habit of taking certain characters the film makes it seem like they are going to be important and disposing of them. Remember that scientist they prop up as being the great hope for humanity? He dies ten minutes after you meet him. He dies because he slips on the ramp to the plane and accidently blows his brains out. And since we have established that the fact that Brad Pitt was guarding him for no reason, this makes the Doctor as a character almost completely pointless. The only purpose he had was to make one little speech about viruses and looking for the little clues they leave to find the cure. And when you see where that leads you will see how stupid that is too. The movie ends with Gerry going to the World Health Organizationís Headquarters in hopes that maybe they can find their cure. Problem is they do not have any answers to find a cure. And that leads to the ridiculous solution they come up with to get an edge over the zombies. A solution so stupid, so poorly written it reflects how bad this movie was handled in post.

WARNING: "SPOILERS" spoilers below
During the movie you occasionally see an instance of a few people whom the rampaging zombies do not attack. They simply pass them over. Gerry remembers talking with the doctor about subtle clues that the virus will drop to show how to deal with it, and gets it into his head that maybe the reason that the zombies pass over certain people is because they are terminally ill. And since they are going to die, they do not attack them because they would not be suitable carriers for the virus and they do not even bother with them. So he gets it into his head that maybe if they get sick with something that if left untreated they will die but can be cured, maybe then they can use that as a camouflage so the zombies do not attack. And what do you know his plan works. He is undisturbed by the zombies, he gets cured in the next scene, and the secret camouflage weapon is literally a new kind of vaccine. THIS IS SO ****ING STUPID! Okay first off, in this movie these zombies are supposed to be infected with a virus similar to rabies, much like the rage zombies in 28 Days Later. As such they should act wild and feral and attack with no regard to the target. So why the hell would they care if they have cancer or not? They are still people. They should not care if they are going to die anyways! Why not just kill the terminally ill? Second, when Gerry injects himself with a deadly bacteria, HE SHOWS NO SIGNS OF ILL HEALTH! How the hell does the zombie know he is sick? At least the other characters that were not attacked in the movie looked like something was wrong with them. And letís assume I buy the fact that the zombies do not want to attack the terminally ill. Letís say I accept this as a fact that someone with a terminal disease who is going to die will be passed over. There is still one problem with the movieís solution. GETTING SICK WITH SOMETHING DEADLY BUT CURABLE IS NOT THE SAME AS A TERMINAL DISEASE! If you are terminal, there is no cure! You are going to die, end of story! And if you are terminal you get passed over because you are not healthy enough to spread the virus. That was the established fact of the movie. If you get infected by something deadly, and then cure it in the next scene or get a vaccine, you are not sick! Your body is now developing antibodies, and getting better. You are not going to die from the disease! So there is no reason why the zombies should not attack you! The vaccine idea should not work at all!

This was a third act solution so badly written it deserves to rank up with the likes of Battlefield Earth!

And to make matters worse, certain cast members are phoning it in, especially Brad Pitt. Pitt is a damn good actor, known for playing lots of characters who are not only cool in demeanor, but charismatic as well. This is best shown when he played Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Lt Aldo Raine in Inglorious Basterds, and Rusty in Ocean's Eleven. In this movie he is going through the motions, probably a reflection of his off camera butting of heads with the director. In addition, on more than a few occasions the characterís reactions seem to not be the sort of reactions you would want in given the circumstances. Like when his car gets swiped in the first scene, he acts like it is not a big deal, despite the fact he had a hit and run. When his satellite phone goes off in a situation requiring stealth, his group gets attacked by zombies. The soldiers instead of being pissed off and threatening to kill him, they laugh it off as no big deal. Remember that scene early on in Predator when Dillon slips on the way to the guerrilla camp and causes a lot of noise? What was Macís response? Mac threatened to kill him! Because he wanted to survive! And it is the appropriate response to a situation like this! And to top it off, the calls between Gerry and his wife are treated so casually. They do not feel like a couple separated by a few thousand miles and dealing with a life or death scenario. It feels far more like Gerry is calling from the office. There is no gravity, no weight, or even treated like this might be the last time they talk to each other. It is like he is calling from the damn office! There are other actors who give much better and appropriate responses but they sadly all had parts where on screen for maybe a few minutes. And when the extras are out acting you, you know the cast doesnít give a *****! And if the cast does not care, then why the hell should I?

I cannot call this movie a disappointment, because my expectations were at very low from the start. I was expecting a bad movie, but I was not expecting it to be this bad. If you are a die hard lover of zombie media like me, save your money. It is not a faithful adaptation, it is not a good zombie movie, and it is not even a good dumb and fun action movie. If you have not picked up the book, do so. It is an excellent read, and much better then this movie.

Well, poo. I was planning on watching that next weekend....Guess I will save my money and watch something else.
You have made a very good choice. If you still want to watch it wait for Red Box or Netflix.

"Hey Look it's Masterman"
Yeah I was going to try catch this next week also, maybe ill catch the DVD on release now.

I've seen some positive reviews for this movie, but after hearing all of the nitpicks that people have made about it I have no interest in seeing it.
For one thing, they say you might hate it if you've read the book. I've read the book.
For another, I've heard about this movie being repetitive as sh*t. Brad Pitt goes somewhere where people are doing a good job at surviving the apocalypse, and then boom - zombies attack. Then he goes to another place where people are doing a good job at surviving the apocalypse, and then boom - zombies attack. Yawn.
And, of course, the forefront of this movie's problems is the PG-13 rating. I was completely fine with there being little blood in The Hunger Games, especially since they didn't want to glorify the violence, but making a zombie movie with a rating under R would be like doing the same thing with a Clive Barker movie. Shame on you, movie execs.
Your review has proved to be the final nail in the coffin. Even though we had opposite opinions on Man of Steel, I find myself to be in agreement with you more often than not. If I'm at a friend's house and they want to get me to watch this movie, I'm gonna have to get plastered first.

You have read the book, YOU WILL HATE THIS MOVIE!

And yeah it is repetitive in the same way 2012 was repetitive. Only with zombies.

And yeah a few people do disagree with me on Man of Steel, but that seems to be a very polarizing movie in general.

Also I cannot stress this enough, read the book first if you haven't yet. Then wait for the movie to come out on DVD for a rental.

And yeah a few people do disagree with me on Man of Steel, but that seems to be a very polarizing movie in general.
I usually seem to end up liking movies with mixed opinions. Both of the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. were more mixed than anything else I've seen; some people loved the first but disliked the second, and vice versa. I loved both of them.

I like quite a few movies that get mixed reviews. I will defend Red Dawn, The Book of Eli, and a few others as some awesome movies. World War Z, is not one of them. And that brings four people I have had changed their minds on seeing this movie! Three on this site and an old friend over the phone.


And while we are on Man of Steel, at least that was competently made! Sure I took issues with the execution but I cannot fault the construction of the production design. This movie was just *****!