Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: Wonder Woman (Movie)- May 2017

Funko’s DC Legion of Collectors have returned once again with a new box in its subscription.  This time, to probably no one’s surprise, the theme is the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.  Will this box be worthy of the Amazon warrior princess?  Read this review and wonder no more…

First we start with the box.  The overall design of the Legion of Collectors’ boxes is still intact, with the featured character’s silhouette on the top, this time being WW.  It is a different outline of Wonder Woman than the Women of DC Box from September of last year, with the tiara looking like the DC Cinematic Universe version.  The inside of the box features pictures of Wonder Woman in various action poses.  They seem to be original drawings (or from design art from the film) and I don’t recognized the art style.

Next, we get to the standard patch and pin.  Of course, both are centered on Wonder Woman this month.  The patch centers around the tiara and eyes of Wondy.  It looks nice and you can tell it’s the movie WW because in the comics, her eyes are blue.  The pin is of the movie logo, with “Legion of Collectors” on the bottom.

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Next we get…socks?  Yes, forgoing a T-shirt or hat, we get these Funko Wonder Woman socks.  They are dark blue with red heels and a picture of a POP Wonder Woman on each sock.  There are WW logos and stars done in a lighter blue.  They are a bit tight on me (I am size 10.5 US in shoes).  I don’t know why they didn’t go with a shirt (I’d unironically rock a cool POP WW shirt.)  Just socks seems like a let down.

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Next we get another Funko product, a Pint-Sized Heroes figure.  These look like tiny versions of their Dorbz figures.  This one comes in a blind bag, but there is only one of Wonder Woman.  It’s cute, but could be a choking hazard to young kids or dogs.

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Finally, we get to the Pops!  We get two this time:  A new Wonder Woman Pop and one of Doctor Poison.  The Wondy one is new, with a more dynamic pose than the one in the Batman V Superman line.  She is getting ready to use her magic lasso with a determined (for a Pop!) look on her face.  Doctor Poison, a character that can be traced to the early stories in the 1940’s, is in a stand-at-ease type pose, similar to the Grand Moff Tarkin Pop for the Smuggler’s Bounty Death Star box, but with her hands in front.  Her outfit looks like the one from the movie and they even gave her the half-face mask she’s been rocking in the trailers.

So, that is all that is in the LoC box for May 2017.  I must admit, I an a little disappointed with the lack of a t-shirt  The socks aren’t really my thing, but they even got a hashtag for wearing them to see the WW movie (#SockItToEmWW).  The two Pops helps to make up for the shirt, and the Pint-Sized Hero WW gives you another Funko item to try.  Still, and I will keep repeating myself, I wish they’d include more of those 3 3/4 inch Funko action figures, like the Suicide Squad ones or the first appearance Superman from March.  A movie WW in that size would have rocked, Funko.  Well, with this subscription, sometimes you get more, sometimes you get less.

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That is all for this time.  The theme for the next DC Legion of Collectors box is Batman: the Animated Series, the classic cartoon from the 1990’s that spawned the DC Animated Universe (Superman: TAS, Justice League, Batman Beyond.)  You can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ in order to get your box.  The deadline is 1 July 2017.  By subscribing, you can order boxes from previous months like this one. (supplies are limited.)

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Funko, DC, Warner Bros or the Kingdom of Themyscira for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any picture staken are for review purposes only.

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Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- Jan 2017- The Empire Strikes Back

Finally, the next Smuggler’s Bounty box has arrived.  Funko decided to base this month’s theme on one of the better, if not best of the Star Wars movies, Empire Strikes Back.  Lets see how they decided to celebrate one of the most exciting chapters in the Star Wars saga..

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First off, this box is huge.  It is definitely the largest of the boxes so far.  Besides the size, the only noticeable difference is the image of Luke in his Dagobah fatigues.  Other than that, it is the standard box.

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Opening it up you see the standard patch and pin.  The patch is of Yoda with Empire Strikes Back written on the side.   The pin features Lando Calrissian, though, if you look at it at a certain angle, you would swear it’s a pin of Lionel Ritche.  I can’t be the only one, right?

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Beneath the flap, we find another little Star Wars plushie.  This time, we get a Wampa, the creature thar captured Luke on Hoth.  It is very cute and has nice soft fake fur.  Including the Boba Fett one from a half a year back, I now have two from this line.

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Funko has given us hats and shirts so what other clothing items will they branch into?  How about socks?  Yes, we get a pair of Pop! Socks, with a Star Wars theme, featuring Pop heads of Darth Vader and Storm Troopers..  They fit me fine (size 10 1/2 feet) and are mostly polyester.

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Last is the much hyped Han on a TaunTaun.  This was revealed at least a far back as November and it looks fantastic.  Han is wearing a brown coat (which I thought was blue; even my action figure of him had a blue coat) but obviously, Funko falls into the brown camp.  It doesn’t bother me but I’d hate to start a debate like the blue and gold/white and gold dress from the internet last year.  Anyways, the Han Soo Pop is not removable from the TaunTaun, but it comes with a large base with pegs to plug into the Tauntaun’s feet.  Finally, the Han figure is a bobble head, but the Tauntaun isn’t.

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It’s brown! It’s blue!  WHO CARES!

This newest box may seem a bit light, but it is still a good value.  The deluxe Pop definitely is of the most value and is the best part of the box.  The socks are nice and I could always use more (they get lost so easily.)  The plushie is nice.  I’d give it to my dog, but he’d destroy it in seconds.

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The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in March 2017.  January’s theme is Star Wars Rebels, the current animated show on Disney XD.  The Smuggler’s Bounty page promises an exclusive Darth Maul Pop! bobble head in that box..  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 March, 2016.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  Excuse me as I look for my Lando pin.  I seem to have misplaced it.

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Hello?. Is it me you’re looking for?

 

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

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Suicide Squad is the new movie from Warner Bros and DC Entertainment directed by David Ayer.  It is the third movie in the DC Cinematic Universe after Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman.  It stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman; to name a few.  It released 5 Aug 16 and it is rated 14A in Ontario, Canada (PG-13 in the US).

Suicide Squad follows the story of a government agency called Task Force X.  Headed by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and led in the filed by Rick Flagg (Kinnaman), this group is composed of super powered criminals forced to cooperate with threats and promises of a reduced sentence.  They are considered expendable and deniable and if they fail, they would be killed and blamed for everything.  They are a Suicide Squad.

The squad consists of the following villians:  Deadshot (Will Smith), a deadly marksman and assassin for hire;  Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) the Joker’s (Jared Leto) psycho girlfriend; Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), half man, half crocodile; El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a pyrotechnic haunted by his past; Captain Boomerang (Jai Courteny), a Australian criminal who is a crack shot with a boomerang; Slipknot (Adam Beach) an assassin and infiltration expert; Katana (Karen Fukuhara), a master swordswoman and Flagg’s body-guard; and The Enchantress (Carla Delevingne) a spirit of a millennia-old witch trapped in the body of archeologist June Moone  When the Enchantress awakens a powerful entity that takes over Midway City, the Squadis sent in to rescue a High Value Target (HVT) or die trying.  But as they discover that there is more to the mission, can the Squad hold it together?

The movie, while good, does have some issues with pacing.  The first third is set up, with the movie introducing Waller, Flagg and giving us back story on most of the squad, mainly Deadshot, Harley and Captain Boomerang.  Deadshot and Harley’s story give us a cameo by the Batman and Boomerang’s gives us the best view so mar of Ezra Miller’s Flash. Once the mission starts, the action picks up and it is an enjoyable ride.

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The portrayals of these comic characters are more or less true to the source material.  Deadshot’s kid, Harely’s lack of control around the Joker and Boomerang’s abrasiveness to his teammates are close to their comic roots.  Rick Flagg’s relationship to June is also from the Suicide Squad’s 1980’s series and Amanda Waller has always been a hard ass.  I would have liked to see more of Katana as her back story and I like the costume they made for her.  Katana has been getting some more exposure recently, playing a big role in season three of Arrow and featuring in the new DC Superhero Girls property.  More of her would be nice.

One minor gripe I have is with the Joker.  Leto’s Joker is going to put some people off.  Some may have issues with Will Smith’s Deadshot (he’s fine in the role), some with Margot as Harley (she nailed it and fills those shorts SO nicely), but The Joker is off-putting.  The new look is different, but mot the strangest incarnation of the Joker (in the comic, he once had his own face removed and then wore it as a mask.)  His appearances are chaotic and have a minimal effect on the story.  But isn’t that the Joker?  Strange and off-putting?  Maybe he is not the Joker we want, but the Joker we need?  He will need a bigger role for us to really find out.

Over all I did like this movie,  I thought is was good.  I like it better than Batman v. Superman:  it is not too long, there are no parts that made be cringe and all the portrayals of the comic characters were well done, even, when it comes down to it, Leto’s Joker, for the small part he played.  Maybe it would be better if some of the characters were set up in a previous movie because their character is tied to the heroes they fight.  The movie is dark, but it has the lighter moments that BvS so desperately needed.  I do hope this does well enough to warrant a sequel, in addition to a movie starring Harley Quinn.  But, I’d watch her reading a phone book if she was in that outfit.

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Damn.

 

4/5

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

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Star Trek Beyond is the third movie in the rebooted Star Trek canon and the thirteenth Star Trek Movie overall.  It stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana and John Cho.  It opened in  North American theatres 22 Jul 2016.

The movie finds Kirk and crew in the middle of their 5 year mission.  Arriving at an advanced Starbase called the Yorktown, the crew prepares for some R and R.  But when an alien ship comes out of an uncharted nebula requesting assistance, the Enterprise gears back up and heads to the unknown.  The ship ends up running into a trap and the crew  is taken, leaving only Kirk, Chekov, Scotty, Bones and Spock to save the day.   With the help of an alien warrior named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) they try to find a way to rescue the crew from the enemy leader, Krall before he activate a weapon that could bring the Federation to its knees.

The new Star Trek movies have had their problems, but it was never about the actors.  The actors who have taken over the iconic Enterprise crew do it well, and bring a fresh look to old characters.The problems I had with the first Nu-Trek movie was how Muppet Babies-esque the whole thin was, having the who command crew at the academy at the same time where there should be no way that Kirk and Chekov would be in the Academy at the same time where Kirk ends up a Captain and he’s just an ensign.  It is like when, on Muppet Babies, they had baby Kermit meet his nephew Robin, who was a tadpole, but in the Muppet show, while Kermit is an adult, Robin was only 5 years old!  Now who knows how Muppet frogs age up, but it is still ridiculous!

My only problem with Into Darkness was a matter of casting.  I mean, who would you get to replace the late great  Ricardo Montalban as Kahn Noonien Singh?  Who can match his physical presence, his Latino charisma?  Of course, the answer is, (in my mind) Antonio Banderas.  Not Benedict Cumberbatch!  Doctor Strange?  Sherlock Holmes?  Julian Assange?  All great roles for Benny.  But.  Not.  Khan.  I can’t be the only once who thinks this…

With Beyond, I had no issues with it.  The best Trek movies are full of action (Wrath of Kahn) and humor (The Voyage Home).  The new movie, directed by Justin Lin has both and I fin it works well.  It is a popcorn flick, sure,.  But when Star Trek gets preachy, it works better when it is serialized on TV, as it only past 42 minutes or so.  The writing but Simon Pegg and Doug Jung has plenty of great lines, especially between Bones and Spock, but the Scotty character definitely got the biggest laughs.

The movie’s villain, Krall (played by Idris Elba)is an intimidating force.  He commands an army of black-clad troopers who look like they belong in a HALO movie.  Besides Krall and his second in command, Mana, none of the other enemies get names.  The only other new character, Jaylah is a survivor that escaped Krall’s camp. She is mechanically inclined, rigging up traps around her home and even restoring a motorcycle she found on a crashed Earth ship.  Her matter-of-factness is a good counterbalance to Scotty’s colourful speech.

Star Trek Beyond did get some buzz about their portrayal of Sulu.  The writers had him I na same-sex relationship wit ha daughter.  I don’t think this matters.  George Takei, the original Sulu and, himself, gay, was against it, feeling the character wasn’t gay.  Though I though I saw Sulu hooking up with a female during Kirk’s opening monologue, meaning he is bisexual (and polyamorous,) but I guess I was mistaken.  Still, it should not matter.  What was meant as a tribute was not taken well, but it shouldn’t affect anyone enjoyment of Star Trek, which it’s message of peace and harmony between races and sexes and cultures and even sexual orientation.  Really it shouldn’t.

Star Trek Beyond is rated 14A in Ontario (PG-13 in the US) and is in theatres now.

4/5

Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Screen-Shot-2015-08-07-at-3_26_36-AM.pngI have always thought that the Fantastic Four comic would be the worst comic to adapt into a live action movie. The whole set up was hokey even in the 1960’s: A brilliant scientist, his best friend, the scientist’s love interest and her younger brother launch in to space to observe a rare cosmic phenomena only to be bombarded with cosmic rays and gain unique super powers. They would then form a team (because why not?) to defend the Earth from threats terrestrial, sub-terrestrial, extra-dimensional and from out of this world. And their names ranged from classic (The Human Torch was based on a older character) to simple (Invisible Girl/Woman and Thing are pretty spot on) to downright arrogant (Who calls themselves Mr. Fantastic? He must be a monster between the sheets or Sue would’ve took him down a peg.) Despite this, they are an important part of Marvel’s history so naturally they would try to make a movie . They have done so: One was never released and only exists in bootleg copies and another had faults, but did well enough to spawn a sequel, which did its best considering the main threat was a purple-helmeted planet eating giant, at least in the comics but a Galactus-shaped cloud in the movie. But, in order to withhold the movie right from Marvel’s parent company, Disney, 20th Century Fox release a new Fantastic Four, directed by Josh Trank. Would this finally get this storied comic book franchise right.

Short answer, no. Long answer, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

The movie follows Reed Richards and Ben Grim in, what I guess, was their senior year in high school (while the actors look way past their teens) So, the set up is similar to the Ultimate Universe version (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry. Marvel crapped that away years ago.) Reed’s science project, a interdimensional gate (how is he still in a public school if he is building interdimensional rifts?) gets the notice of Dr Franklin Storm, a scientist who runs an organization that is trying to build a similar device. Reed meets Dr. Storm’s son, Johnny, his adopted daughter Susan and a certain Victor Von Doom, who was working on the institute’s version of the portal. . When the government threaten to take over the project, Reed calls Ben and, along with Victor and Johnny, travel to the place they call Planet Zero. While there, the planet erupts violently, seemingly killing Doom and bombing the other s with radiation. Susan, is in the control room when they teleport back, getting caught in the explosion that follows and getting doused in the same “cosmic rays.” Of course they each develop powers, Reed can stretch, Johnny can emit flames and fly, Sue can turn invisible and has telekinesis and Ben is a super strong rock guy with no genitals. Some are thrilled, some are not (you’d be too if you were rendered a eunuch) and the government wants to you them to rebuild the portal and go back. But someone is waiting for them.

I had a hard time watching this movie. The acting is bad. Not horrible, but you never start to like any of them.. Kate Mara is the worse, with her dead-eye performance making me yearn for Jessica Alba in the role ( and Jessica had more charisma). The rest, well I didn’t feel it. The making them teens make sense, not casting actors in their thirties to plan them was not. Well, most were late twenties but they did not look the part. And, what they did to poor Ben! Was giving him CGI shorts too much for their budget? Or go the Watchman route and have Ben hang out in all his rocky glory? With a name like the Thing, there has always been jokes and speculation about the Thing’s…thing, but to castrate him like this is horrible.

My biggest gripe, however is that they failed to get Doctor Doom right. No movie so far has given us an authentic Doom (Rise of the Silver Surfer came closest, but still fell short.) A little Fantastic Four 101: Doom was not around for the space mission that gave the team their powers. He had no power, save those for his technology (he a bit of a mad scientist) and magic (he’s a double threat!). He was as smart as Reed, but his ego usually gets the better of them (and this against a guy who calls himself “Mister Fantastic!”) His connection to the team was that he knew reed in College and he blames him for an accident that gave him a scar! Surely with that origin, some screen writer could give us a Doom that is a plausible threat, one that would rival Darth Vader in sheer bad assness (and the scene in Empire Strikes Back, where the heroes meet Darth in a banquet hall? Doctor Doom did it first.)

This movie fails as a super hero movie., It fails as a science fiction movie about four friends mutated by cosmic forces. I would not be surprised if Fox shoveled out this movie just to keep the rights to the franchise   While they’ve been doing good with the X-Men franchise as of late, this new version of the FF does not work. They are still threatening a part 2, though fans are hoping they will reach a agreement with Marvel/Disney similar to the one reached with Sony over Spider-Man. They won’t. Fox can be dicks sometimes. Look how long it took the ’60s Batman TV series to be released on DVD. With Marvel disbanding the Fantastic Four in the comics and the movie director disowning the film, 2015 has been a lousy year foe Marvel’s oldest superhero team.  If you want to see the Fantastic Four done right, watch the Incredibles. Or if you have to have Johhny, Ben, Sue and Reed, watch some of the cartoons, preferably the “90 version, not the one with H.E.R.B.I.E  (Not the Love Bug, though they are now owned by the same company…) Even the movies with Chris Evens and Jessica Alba are better (they do have a charm to them,). Don’t watch this one, you will just be sad.

 

1/5

Movie Review: Spectre (James Bond 007)

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James Bond is back in the twenty-fourth film in the 007 series, Spectre.  Daniel Craig reprises his role as the British super spy and is joined by Ralph Fiennes as M, Lea Seydoux as Dr. Madeline Swann, Christoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser , Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as Monneypenny.  The movie is directed by Sam Mendes, who also directed Skyfall.

In the aftermath of Skyfall, Bond has been  chasing down a shadowy organization that’s orchestration terrorist attacks.  When an incident in Mexico gets him suspended, right when a merger between MI5 and MI6 into a new organisation that threatens to make Double-O agents like himself obsolete, Bond sets out to uncover the organization, with his only clue being a ring with an octopus on it.  With aid from Moneypenny and a reluctant Q, travels to Rome, where he finds the organization and their leader, Oberhauser, a man with links to Bond’s past.  He also finds out the name of the group, Spectre, and that they’ve been watching him for a while.

The Bond movies have always been about huge stakes, car chases, fight scenes and beautiful women and Spectre does not disappoint.  Daniel Craig’s Bond may not be so quick with the one liners, but he has his moments.  The movie also touches on the reality of spycraft today; electronic monitoring, drones and invasion of privacy in the name of national security.  One of the sub-plots is the new organization replacing MI6 would be apart of a worldwide surveillance network.  M argues that although a drone could track down and monitor targets better than a human agent, a human agent can better adjust to changes and even decide not to kill.

The movie is 148 minutes long, but it kept my interest the entire time  The plot moves along at a good pace and the fight scenes (especially the ones with Dave Bautista) are awesome.  Long time Bond fans who know about the Spectre organization from the older movies won’t be disappointed when Oberhauser reveals his true name (there is a white cat),  Wherever or not this is Craig’s last film as Bond, it leaves the franchise at a point where they can continue and use Spectre or have Bond face newer threats.  Who knows, maybe a certain character in this film returns with a metal jaw?

Spectre is rated 14A in Ontario.

4/5

Not the Superman film we deserve, but one that we need- MAN OF STEEL Review

Superman has to be one of the hardest heroes to adapt to film.  Sure the first two films from the Chris Reeve years are classic, but they do not hold up well next to the modern superhero films.  The movies made Superman able to do anything. I mean, besides flight, invulnerability, super breathe and various vision powers, he can turn back time, produce a super-cellophane “S” to trap his foes and even cause amnesia through a “super-kiss.”  He was like a god.  The 2006 movie “Superman Returns” sure didn’t help with the “Jesus” metaphor being totally overt in it.  Superman was just too, well, “super” to relate.

The new movie, THE MAN OF STEEL, tries to show the man in Superman.  It follows Clark Kent as he drifts from town to town, working small jobs while trying to discover who he is and track clues to where he came from.  He ends up in the Canadian Arctic where he finds a space craft from Krypton and meets a plucky reported named Lois Lane.

After saving Lois from the ship’s defenses and dropping her off safely, Clark learns of his heritage, his true name of Kal-El, his planet’s fate and of General Zod, who happens to have survived Krypton’s fate in the Phantom Zone along with a dozen or so of his followers.  Zod knows of Kal-El, and believes he has something that will help him rebuild Krypton.

Lois tracks down Clark as Zod reaches Earth, demanding that Kal is turned over to him.  Donning the familiar red and blue suit, Clark becomes Superman, Earth’s only protection against and army of super powered Kryptonians.

The movies is heavy on the action, which is what the franchise needed.  Warner Bros teased that the fight scene between Neo and Agent Smith in The Matrix Revolutions could serve as a template for a Superman/Zod battle.  With several scripts that languished in development hell, people were expecting Superman Returns to have more intense action.  Instead, we gat Bryan SInger’s love letter to the Christopher Reeve films that did nothing update the movie mythos.  Man of Steel reboots the franchise, giving us a Superman who is starting out and is still unsure in his abilities.  It gives us that superhuman-on-superhuman fights that we been waiting for.  It gives us a Superman who faces a challenge that he could fail, and forces him to make tough choices that, if handled by a good writer, could affect him in later movies.

This Superman is not perfect.  He can’t be everywhere and save everyone.  He chooses to go after the world engine in the South Pacific while the USAF take on the mothership in Metropolis.  Sure, thousands, if not millions died in Metropolis, but billions would have if the world engine wasn’t stopped.  In the climax he makes a tough decision, similar to one he made in a storyline in 1988.  This is not a smile and wave Superman form the 80’s movie.

The movie is definitely dark.  Christopher Nolan (director of the Dark Knight Trilogy) was a producer of this and his influence shows in the film.  The director, Zack Snyder, is good at making big action sequences that drive the movie.  They take up a big portion of the movie, but, to me, they weren’t overdrawn and helped the movie.  Story-wise, it may have played with the Superman mythos a bit, especially with the Clark-Lois dynamic, but I think it works and make Lois a more competent character.

I believe the Man of Steel is a good starting point to the new DC Cinematic Universe.  I remain hopeful that future films in this project will improve on this and give us a series of movies comparable to the Marvel films.  Some make balk that this isn’t the Superman film they were expecting:  light-hearted, cheesy and safe, but that is not what the Superman franchise needs.  It needs the show the man in the Man of Steel, facing challenges that even his powers might not be able to stop, yet still persevering.

Score: 4/5