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Justice League • Lady Bird

November 23, 2017

Justice League (**) 
The latest exhibit in the ongoing attempts of Warner Brothers to launch DC Comics as a serious contender to the cinematic throne of competitor Marvel Comics, Justice League, is a tough cookie to assess. Being that it’s neither as embarrassingly bad as previous entries (I’m looking at you, Man of Steel and Suicide Squad) nor as moderately entertaining as last summer’s serviceable entry Wonder Woman, it’s a bit difficult to come up with a review that’s likely to grab the reader. I’ll preface this one by apologizing in advance for the mediocre take on the film that’s a direct reflection of the mediocre nature of the project itself.   

You would think that a film featuring a super hero dream team consisting of established DC Comics’ vets Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Batman (Ben Affleck), paired with the likes of big screen newcomers, Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) would be a slam dunk. If that’s your thought process then it’s highly advised that you think again. The most amazing thing that Justice League accomplishes is taking this incredible on screen pairing and turning it into a snoozefest. That’s something I never expected when this project was announced. Then again, considering that the director is—once again—Zack Snyder (a repeat offender in his previously misguided DC Comics adaptations) it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Let’s just say that if you can say with a straight face that you thought the 2013 film Man of Steel is a great piece of pop art then this is the film for which you’ve been salivating.    

Ezra Miller as The Flash in Justice League

The film picks up after the events of the equally dull Batman V. Superman (also directed by Snyder) where things left off with the death of Superman, who had sacrificed himself for the greater good of mankind. There’s a new threat this time, an ancient god going by the moniker of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) who has no connection whatsoever to the late 60s rock band of the same name although that might have made things more palatable. Steppenwolf is in possession of a cube type device that, when put together with similar cubes, can destroy the world in which we live. Batman/Bruce Wayne quickly makes a plan to assemble the team of superheroes to do battle with this ancient god although there’s really no doubt as to the outcome.   

Thankfully there is a bit more humor to spare in this effort, due to the last minute input of former Avengers director Joss Whedon, but it never feels organic and totally out of synch with the dark nature of the rest of the film. Add to that a villain that’s just plain dull and you the have the perfect ingredients for a slog through mediocrity. Justice League is just that.     

Lady Bird (***) R
If you’ve seen any number of films featuring actress Greta Gerwig’s acting or writing talents then you’re probably pretty familiar with her onscreen persona. It’s hard to articulate precisely but there’s a uniqueness there that’s tempered with a sense of quirkiness which likely could be off putting to some and totally appealing to others. I’m somewhere in the middle. While I admire and appreciate what Gerwig brings to the plate, her generally odd and quirky nature is best taken in small doses for yours truly.

I mention this as a preamble in my review of her directorial debut Lady Bird simply because her unique personality is evident in every frame of the film. If you’re a huge Gerwig fan then Lady Bird is going to be cat nip. And if you’re just a casual fan, the good news is that you’re likely to still find much to embrace in a film that’s equally moving and bitingly funny.

The character of the film’s title, Lady Bird, is impeccably portrayed by the brilliant up and comer Saoirse Ronan, who made such an indelible impression on audiences two years ago in the beautifully realized Brooklyn. Her work here is a performance you won’t likely forget regardless of your feelings regarding this coming of age tale. Lady Bird (a name she gave herself, having been christened, Christine) is a seventeen year old who’s bursting at the seams to get out of her hometown of Sacramento, California. She’s constantly at odds with her mother regarding the school she’ll attend after high school graduation. Lady Bird pictures herself moving to New York and embracing her artistic side while her mother (Laurie Metcalf), ever aware of the family’s tight financial situation, feels that a more practical solution should be considered. Her father (Tracy Letts), is more open minded to his daughter’s future plans, which puts him also at odds with her mother.

Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird

The film’s actual story has a few beats here and there that feel a little over familiar. For instance, there’s the subplot involving Lady Bird ditching her longtime best friend for someone a bit higher on the social ladder. And there are the romantic misadventures that she goes through which also have been similarly done before, even though that doesn’t matter. Lady Bird has enough humor and heart to get it through the overly familiar narrative spots and bring it in to a terrific finish. It’s well worth a look.

Justice League is playing in Hickory and all around the area. Lady Bird is playing in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at



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Avengers: Age Of Ultron

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The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

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