We have another Nerds review, and this one on the normally vaunted DC Animated Universe! Dave and Rey decide to tackle Injustice!
It’s a fairly fresh release so there aren’t a ton of fleshed out grades on the usual sites. Makes things more interesting to see how our Nerds rated it!
- Metacritic: N/A
- IMDB: 6.2/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: Critic – N/A% / Audience – 43%
Nerd’s Take on Injustice (2021)
Ever since I was a kid, Superman has been my favorite super hero. Over the years, my love for the Man of Steel has been met with some very tepid reactions from non-Superman fans. I have heard the same tired arguments time and time again: He’s boring; He’s too much of a boy scout; He’s too over-powered; He’s too God-like; etc., rinse, repeat. I recognize that, yes, perhaps Superman is the ultimate white-meat babyface ever. I also feel like his harshest critics do not understand what makes him so great. See, it’s not that Superman is faster than a speeding bullet that makes him great. Its not that he is more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound either. What makes Superman great is that although he has incredible powers, he never uses them to his own advantage or to oppress anyone, even though he easily could. He could take over the world if he desired and there would be very little anyone could do to stop him. It is his restraint and morals despite this immense power that makes him so great.
But what if that were not the case? What if Superman was pushed too far and decided to turn his back on all of his ideals, turn his back on mankind, betray his friends, and became the polar opposite of what he has stood for for nearly a century? What if everyone who complained about Superman being too much of a goody-goody got their wish and a darker and quasi-evil version of Superman emerged? The newest DC Animated film, Injustice, explores this question, and so much more.
Injustice is based on the extremely popular video-game series that debuted in 2013. The games were then adapted to graphic novels and the story-line exploded in popularity. DC’s latest animated movie captures much of what Injustice is all about and what makes it so captivating. In a nutshell, here is the plot/premise: The Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane, his unborn child, and 11 million people in Metropolis. It is an unfathomable loss and it pushes Superman well past his breaking point. He executes The Joker then, with Wonder Woman staunchly by his side, announces to the world that what happened to Metropolis can never happen again. Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Hawkman, and others then set about disarming the world and quickly ending any and all military conflicts across the globe. As this totalitarian state evolves, many other members of the JLA oppose Superman, feeling that it is wrong for him to impose his will upon the world and ignoring any and all laws and accords that might exist. Aquaman leaves the JLA to go back to Atlantis vowing to not yield to Superman’s rule. Green Lantern is called back to Oa by the Guardians of the Universe. It is Batman, Green Arrow, and a revenge motivated (sort of) Harley Quinn who become Superman’s primary opponents. Batman is every bit as stubborn as Superman in his own beliefs that the law must be upheld. It is more than a bit ironic that one of the biggest vigilantes in the history of DC becomes the poster-child for upholding the same laws that he routinely violated over his career. Suffice it to say that with the big two of DC opposing each other, shit gets real very quickly. Both sides suffer losses, especially Batman, who is likely brought back from his own breaking point by Catwoman.
So, I do not want to spoil this for anyone because I really feel it is well worth your money and time investment. What I will say is that DC does not make bad animated movies. More often than not, they are very good to great. Make no mistake, Injustice is definitely on the great side of that ledger. It is an enormously powerful movie that will definitely elicit an emotional reaction from you, regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself on as far as support. What Injustice does so well is it makes you feel terrible for Superman at the beginning, no matter if you are a fan of his or not. Then, even if you are not a fan of his, and have always clamored for an edgier Man of Steel, you will reach a point where you will realize that this version of Superman is terrifying in his own right and has gone too far. If you are like me and love Superman, watching our heroes’ steady decline is nothing short of agonizing. For all involved, there are gut punches along the way, irrespective of the tragedy of the first 10 minutes. Some beloved heroes die. I will say no more than that. By the time everything is resolved (if you can call it that) the toll for everyone is enormous and you know that the world will never be the same. From a world-changing standpoint, Injustice holds its own with movies like Flashpoint Paradox, and that is saying something.
The movie is not perfect. It strays from the source material in a few questionable places. This is nothing new for DC animation. Most of the time, it works. Less often, such as with The Killing Joke, it doesn’t. Injustice falls somewhere in between the two extremes. It is easy to understand why this was done but some of it leaves a bit to be desired. On the other hand, I read some other reviews that were critical that Injustice crammed too much into it at the expense of character development. I don’t buy that at all. We are, after all, talking about some of the most well-known characters in the history of comics. How much development do we really need at this point? With that being said, there is a lot going on here and, on occasion, the story seems to suffer a bit. But not really enough to take away from how excellent the movie is on other fronts.
The timing of Injustice, coming just as Marvel’s What If came to an end seems to be more than just a coincidence. Injustice is a massive exploration into a DC version of a What If type of situation. It is clearly not canon, but is clearly based off of canon. It explores a possible alternate reality where if just one variable or another is flipped, the consequences are devastating. It asks and answers the question: What if Superman went bad? It is very dark and there is not much hope to be found in the movie. There is no happy ending to be found. In the end, everyone loses to some extent. That sounds extremely bleak and it is. But it is one of the most powerful super-hero-based stories you will ever see brought to life. I would not recommend this to the casual fans out there or the bandwagoners. But, if you are a hardcore fan of the characters, the video games, or the graphic novels, this is something you truly have to watch and experience. In the end, that is the best word to describe Injustice: It is an experience unlike any other in DC animated history and, for the right type of fan, it is an essential watch.
This week we have the pleasure of reviewing Injustice, which is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to seeing since I heard about it. Having been a huge fan of the video game that it’s modeled after, my interest was immediately high. The original Injustice game was one of the first times that a major comic property or storyline came from that medium, and the hook of it was one that surprisingly hadn’t been used before – what if Superman decided to be evil. And where the game created the idea, the animated movie doubled down and surpassed.
I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a Superman fan. I find him too rigid, uninteresting, and ridiculously overpowered. As long as he’s in this solar system, he has absolutely no weakness except for a ridiculously rare ore from his home planet. He’s also the personification of good. Villains call him the big boy scout for a reason. This idea of who Superman is and what he stands for is completely turned on its head in Injustice. At the beginning of the movie, he finds out that Lois Lane, his wife, is pregnant. He immediately goes to help Batman to save the day just to tell him that he’s having a baby – an extremely boy scout-ish thing to do. As the day goes on, The Joker and Harley Quinn kill Jimmy Olsen and take Lois Lane hostage. As soon as Superman finds out, Batman sends a message to the rest of Justice League to bring all hands on deck to find her. While looking for her, Flash is killed as he uncovers what Joker has been working on. He’s stolen Scarecrow’s fear gas and synthesized it with Joker toxin. And unfortunately, he laced it with Kryptonite and sprayed this on Superman. So as Superman sees Doomsday and proceeds to fight him with all his might and takes him to outer space, Batman helps him realize that he actually just killed his wife Lois and his unborn child. As he realizes this, a bomb hidden in a clock tower in Metropolis tied to Lois’s heartbeat goes off and destroys the city. This is just the FIRST FIFTEEN MINUTES!
Throughout the movie, Superman begins to take his grief out on his friends and fellow superheroes, but most importantly, he takes it out on the public. He immediately kills Joker, which turns Batman against him. He then proceeds to try and help people by stopping all crime, attacking regimes and countries. This goes further as he tries to go to Arkham Asylum and have Cyborg boom tube the villains there to a special, unreachable prison. Batman brings Nightwing, Green Arrow, and Arrow’s hostage turned sidekick Harley Quinn, to stop them, but Damien Wayne has already told Superman’s group. After a big fight with Superman telling Batman that he doesn’t know what he’s lost, Damien accidentally kills Nightwing. Immediately, Batman loses it in a way you don’t see him lose it, with Catwoman being the only thing that holds him together.
It’s important to talk about Wonder Woman’s influence on Superman in this movie and as a whole. Diana is the voice in Superman’s head pushing him to go on his quest of “saving” the world, not seeing that he is delving further and further into becoming a tyrant. It takes Superman killing a bunch of teenagers dressed like Joker in a rave for her to realize that she and Superman have gone too far. At this point, Superman has told the United Nations that he controls everything and his reach will be around the whole world to keep it safe. The US Government conspires to kidnap Jonathan Kent to have some leverage over him, but Diana is able to find Mirror Master and help find him. After he’s found, Batman, Catwoman, Green Arrow, Huntress, and Harley conspire to steal the Red Sun cannon from Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. They make the President send military submarines out as a distraction, but when Batman’s group gets to the Fortress, they see Jonathan there. He tells them to leave, but Superman, Wonder Woman, and Diana catch them. After a huge fight, Green Arrow attempts to shoot a Kryptonite arrow at Superman, which he knocks away but inadvertently kills his dad. At this point, heroes have been killed, villains have been imprisoned, and Superman has accidentally killed his own father. Batman’s group narrowly escapes as Superman is on the verge of losing his mind.
Batman then uses Plastic Man to sneak into Superman’s prison and release the only person who has the technology to possibly stop him – Mr. Terrific. Thanks to Nightwing being reincarnated as Deatman the ghost, both heroes are able to escape Cyborg. Also, after accidentally killing Nightwing, Damien Wayne has joined Superman’s cause and has attempted to bring Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows into Superman’s circle. This turns out to be a huge mistake as Ra’s al Ghul has created Amazo with the hope of taking over the world now that there is no real power thanks to Superman. While this fight is going on with Superman, Diana, and Cyborg trying to stop Amazo, Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man, Harley, Batman, and Catwoman are trying to set up a special portal which ultimately allows them to go into the multiverse and get another Superman from another world. This Superman fights the main Superman until the other world’s Lois comes out. She convinces him to stand down and realize the error of his ways. Finally, Superman’s internal conflict is over and the movie is over.
Injustice touches every emotion possible. It’s impossible to not feel for Superman after losing his wife, son, and father. But you quickly see where his grief turns to madness. And you understand why he is the Big Boy Scout. It’s because he has to hold back to stay human. Joker stole his humanity and his hope, and ultimately, turned him into a madman that couldn’t be stopped. It’s a fantastic movie and a fantastic story. It’s maybe the best Superman story I’ve ever read.
The only issue is that the story from Injustice the game is just a bit better. For the sake of time, I won’t break it down here, but just know that the game ends with Superman in the Red Sun prison, but still under the belief that he was right and the world needs his protection. So because of that, I can’t give this movie a full on 5, but it’s damn close. This is another feather in the hat for DC animation, as their movies usually are excellent.
Rating: 4.75/ 5
Overall Nerds’ Rating for Injustice (2021): 4.63/5
Bandwagon Nerds #106: Spider-Speculation
With Patrick and Dave under the weather and Rey out of action, the Bandwagon brings an episode a little shorter on time but still high on content! This week, the Nerds continue their breakdown of Locke & Key. Learn how this episode almost caused Tunney to break his promise to not binge the show. In news around the Nerdosphere the guys discuss the controversy embroiling video game giant Activision, a Harry Potter Reunion special and a fifth Lethal Weapon movie possible coming to HBO Max. Finally, a new trailer Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer dropped. The Nerds discuss the potential spoilers and secrets before turning to the possibility that the MCU may be due for some critical and fan backlash.
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BWN Nerds’ Movie Review: Red Notice (2021)
A movie with a few beloved stars, a simple enough premise and it was trending number 1 on Netflix for a while. We have three nerds weighing in! Does Red Notice survive the ratings?
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review! Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different movie from the Nerd-o-sphere. This week, Patrick, Rey and Dave reviews Netflix’s new action heist film Red Notice!
- The Flick: Red Notice
- What’s it About: An art thief hunted by INTERPOL and an FBI agent trying to clear his name team up to steal three artifacts known as Cleopatra’s Eggs. On their heels is an INTERPOL agent looking to bring them down. Standing in their way, another thief known as the Bishop who intends to steal the eggs for herself.
- Metacritic Score: 39
The Nerds’ Take on Red Notice (2021):
Rey: In the latest edition of “Which police officer will The Rock play today”, I get to talk to you about Netflix’s new smash hit Red Notice! Now, when I say smash hit, normally that’s a generic term. With Red Notice, however, that term is as appropriate as possible. This movie has been announced to have the biggest opening day in Netflix film history. Think about the movies that entails. So if nothing else, this is an ultimately successful movie that we’ve been tasked to review.
Clearly, as a wrestling fan, I love The Rock. That goes without saying, but the additions of the amazing Gal Gadot and the hilarious Ryan Reynolds were extremely intriguing, so I was looking forward to seeing the possibilities that this movie could reach. The premise of this movie is that The Rock is an FBI criminal profiler specializing in art crimes and he’s been paired with Interpol agent Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya) to track down the theft of the three golden bejeweled eggs of Cleopatra, given to her as a wedding gift by her husband Mark Antony. As we start the movie, we immediately get an idea of how well versed Rock is in his field as he figures out that the egg on display in the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome is a fake. This is when you first see Ryan Reynolds as super art thief Nolan Booth. There is an extremely fun and clever chase sequence that leads with Reynolds getting away, and the movie is off.
As Reynolds gets back to his home in Bali, Rock and Interpol Agent Das are there waiting there to arrest him when Rock gives us a glimpse of his ability to profile. He breaks down everything about Reynolds’ psyche right before they take him away. As they’re putting him and the egg in two separate SWAT vehicles, we’re introduced to Gal Gadot’s super art thief “The Bishop”. She steals the egg and replaces it with a fake and slips away.
For the rest of the crux of the movie, Gadot gets Rock arrested and puts Rock and Reynolds through multiple planned scenarios to try and get the other two eggs. Rock and Reynolds end up having to team with each other in a team of convenience, which neither seems to want comedically marred by hijinks aplenty. Rock is trying to prove his innocence by getting back the original egg and arresting Gadot, and Reynolds wants to prove that he’s the best art thief in the world by beating Gadot and getting the egg. Soon, once Gadot has two of the eggs, we realize that only Reynolds knows where the third egg is. After sending Gadot on a false chase, he and Rock go to the correct location while coming to a legitimate partnership. The third egg was owned by Hitler’s antiquities dealer and was locked and stored in a secret bunker in the jungles of Argentina. Rock and Reynolds accidentally end up finding it and of course, are followed by not only Gadot but Interpol Agent Das and her team. One more major chase sequence sees Gadot, Rock, and Reynolds work together to escape the Interpol agents and get out of the bunker safe and free.
This is where the movie takes a massive turn. As Reynolds is trying to find Rock, he shows that he cares about him more than the egg, and in turn, is blindsided by the fact that Rock and Gadot were together the whole time! The two are a couple, and Rock was playing a long con to get Reynolds to give them the location of the final egg. As they leave Reynolds locked up on the beach, they go to Egypt to sell the three eggs to a rich billionaire buyer who wanted the eggs to give to his daughter as a birthday gift. Interpol breaks up the party, hilariously cameoed by Ed Sheeran, and Rock and Gadot sneak away. Finally, we see the pair on a yacht celebrating their long con and successful financial heist as Reynolds shows up on the boat. He explains to them that he worked with Agent Das to freeze their Cayman Islands account where they hid the money they made. He also offers them a deal to do one more heist as a trio, which the pair begrudgingly accepts. The final scenes of the movie show Agent Das giving all three “red notices,” which is an Interpol notice of the most dangerous and on the run criminals (also where the name of the came from), and the trio walks towards the Louvre in Paris to begin the next heist.
This is, by no stretch of the imagination, a mind blowing movie. Is not meant to be though. What this movie is in spades is fun. Throughout the whole time, the comedy of Reynolds, the suffering of Rock, and the clever front running of Gadot keeps you entertained the entire time. The trio have impeccable chemistry, especially Rock and Reynolds, and the plot is just interesting enough to earn your interest. The final twist at the end will surprise you if you allow yourself to fully immerse in the film, but even if you don’t, you’ll still enjoy the ride. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and while it’s not the plot of the year, I will always reward fun and enjoyment just as much. I give it a 4 out of 5.
Rey’s Rating: 4.0/5.0
Dave: After two weeks of very heavy, world building, thought provoking movies, this week’s assignment is at the other end of the spectrum. Red Notice is not heavy on the plot or the details…. but it is a very fun, action-packed, romp starring three of the biggest stars in Hollywood today.
The plot of the movie is pretty basic and anything but ground-breaking. Two millennia ago, Marc Antony gifted Cleopatra three jeweled eggs as a wedding gift. The eggs were lost over time. Two of them had been located; the location of the third egg was a mystery. The movie begins with Special Agent John Hartley teaming up with Interpol agent Das to prevent the theft of one of the eggs from a museum in Rome. Renowned art-thief, Nolan Booth, is able to steal the egg, briefly, before Hartley discovers the egg on display is a phony. The first of many chase sequences in the movie takes place. Hartley apprehends Booth at his home in Bali. Booth is taken into custody. But, Booth’s main rival, The Bishop, is able to steal the egg and sets up Hartley as the fall guy. Das sends Hartley and Booth to a prison in Russia. The two adversaries decide to work together to escape from the prison and prevent The Bishop from acquiring the second egg. Another grand chase sequence transpires but the guys escape and end up at a masquerade gala held by Sotto Voce. Voce has the second egg locked in a vault. This leads to an Oceans 11 type of vault heist…. only to discover that The Bishop found a different way into the vault. We get an awesome fight scene between The Bishop, Hartley, and Booth that ends with Hartley and Booth being held captive by The Bishop and Voce.
It turns out that Booth knows the location of the third egg, something no one has known in 2,000 years. Booth saves Hartley from some brutal torture by disclosing the location of the third egg…. but not really. He explains to Hartley that the third egg is in a Nazi bunker in Argentina. Booth and Hartley head to South America to get the third egg. But The Bishop and Das are both wise to what is going on and intercept them there. That is as much as I will disclose as the movie does have a couple of pretty decent swerves at the end, even if they are a touch on the predictable side.
As I am sure Patrick will mention in his review, Red Notice does not break any new ground here. There are elements of many popular movies here. I mentioned Oceans 11 already. You have elements of The Fast & Furious mixed in with True Lies, mixed in with Raiders of the Lost Arc, combined with some Tomb Raider, and a smattering of National Treasure. It even feels a bit like the Uncharted video game series in some places. Now, that is not to say that any of that is a bad thing. Not at all. But it is not very original. Borrowing an idea or two is one thing; fashioning a movie around five to six scenes that look very similar to things we have seen before is a bit of lazy booking. Much of the movie is predictable and a bit too tropey. One swerve is completely predictable; the other not nearly as much. There is the obligatory bromance that you get in movies such as this and it attempts to balance that out by having a strong female to be the Big Bad of the movie. In most places it works but, again, nothing is shown here that you probably have not seen somewhere before.
Still, I revert to my overriding feeling about Red Notice….it is just a lot of fun. If your head was spinning after watching movies like Dune and Eternals then you will appreciate Red Notice’s simple, unapologetic, and over-the-top approach. It is, in every way, just a good, solid, adventure-based crime drama, with a lot of humor to it. So, the director did not think too far outside of the box. So what? Red Notice is not designed to take itself seriously. It is all about some pretty mindless fun and, on that front, it succeeded quite well. And make no mistake, Red Notice is very funny, which adds a lot to the entertainment value of the movie as a whole.
So, while the movie is nothing special from the standpoint of doing something unique or different, we have to talk about the cast, which is nothing short of phenomenal. It stars three of my personal favorites. First, we have Dwayne Johnson, who continues to own Hollywood. The man formerly known as The Rock continues to “bring it” as far as action movies are concerned. He is very good in Red Notice as Agent Hartley. He is a bad ass, as always, but not quite the unstoppable force that he was as Hobbs in the Fast & Furious movies. Across from him is the only man out there right now who can possibly challenge Johnson’s claim to being King of Hollywood and this is the equally charismatic Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds delivers the strongest performance of anyone in this movie. He is the comic relief here and a ton of Deadpool, albeit of a much more family-friendly variation, is injected into his portrayal of Nolan Booth. The relationship between Hartley & Booth harkens back to a similar “strained relationship turned friendship” movie involving Dwayne Johnson at the beginning of his career, 2003’s The Rundown. It is, of course, another example of a retread as Johnson and Reynolds’s portrayal is eerily similar to that of Johnson and Sean William Scott from 18 years ago (has it really been that long?). And similar to The Rundown, we have a powerful female character driving a wedge between the two men but, in the end, uniting them. In The Rundown it was Rosario Dawson; in Red Notice, it is Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. Gadot turns in a very solid performance as The Bishop and shows a bit of range to her acting skills. Last, but not least, is Ritu Arya, who plays the relentless agent Das and does a great job along the way.
If we were basing this on cast alone, Red Notice would be a 5/5 as everyone delivers in this movie. The problem is just that they don’t have a lot of great stuff to work with. It is all quite good, but also a bit derivative. Appreciate the movie for what it is: A lot of fun, a lot of action, a lot of humor, and nothing that should be taken too seriously. If you are looking for a good movie to escape into for a couple of hours, then Red Notice will definitely leave you satisfied.
Dave’s Rating: 3.75/5.0
Patrick: This week, we Nerds head over to Netflix to check out the most viewed debuting film in the company’s history: Red Notice. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot, the film is an international heist movie that we’ve all seen before. But hey, this one has Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot. I will say while Red Notice is enjoyable enough, it’s really nothing special and will quickly be forgotten by audiences maybe as soon as they finish watching it. This is going to be a quicker review for me this week, as I really don’t know that there is too much to say.
The movie follows master thief Nolan Booth (Reynolds) and FBI Agent John Hartley (Johnson) as they try to steal an ancient artifact known as Cleopatra’s Egg before Nolan’s rival the Bishop(Gadot) does first. Oh, Hartley is wrongly accused of being a crooked FBI Agent. He only teams with Booth to clear his name. Double Oh, they are all being pursued by INTERPOL Inspector Urvashi Das (played by Ritu Arya). The chase takes these four characters all over the globe in mix of Ocean’s 11 hijinks, an Indiana Jones and a bit of Lethal Weapon buddy cop mixed in.
Reynolds and Johnson work really well together albeit in roles we are used to seeing them portray. Reynolds is witty and cocky as Booth. Johnson plays the straight tough guy to all of Reynolds wisecracks. It’s a familiar formula and one I am sure was comfortable to the actors. But I’ve seen this move plenty of times before, and the rapport of the actors while solid, didn’t blow me away. Gadot vamps it up as the femme fatale Bishop. All in all, they’re a great deal of fun. But it’s nothing you haven’t seen these actors do before.
It’s the same with the film itself. The story is one we’ve seen dozens of times over. There are action fun action sequences, but they’re not anything unique. There are car chases. They are fun, but you’ve seen better ones in movies like The Bourne Identity. Hell, there are plot twists and guess what? They’re pretty easy to pick up. The biggest highlight for me watching Red Notice? The Easter eggs referencing other famous movies. It’s Reynolds whistling the previously mentioned Indiana Jones in a treasure vault. It’s Gal Gadot doing a Wonder Woman pose in a fist fight. I think I had more fun hunting for the winks to the audience than watching the movie itself.
Look, Red Notice is a harmless, fun little movie. There’s good chemistry among Reynolds, Johnson and Gadot and they are clearly having a good time. You could do worse with two hours than watch this movie. Unfortunately, there are so many other better films out there that do what Red Notice does. Ocean’s 11 in particular comes to mind as it has all of the elements of Red Notice with better execution. So, no Red Notice isn’t a bad movie, but it just can’t compete with the numerous movies that did the story better
Patrick’s Rating: 2.52/5.0
Overall Nerds’ Rating for Red Notice (2021): 3.42/5.0
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