Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice

2016: The most exciting year for superhero fans everywhere, with the beginning of the end of Marvel’s Phase 2 kicking off with Deadpool and the start of the origin stories for DC’s Justice League, with Batman VS Superman

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The superhero film year started off with Marvel’s biggest, baddest antihero; Deadpool, the merc with a mouth. DC swiftly followed with Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice, and for many people, this would be one of the most important films coming up for the next few years as it set up the entire future Justice League storyline, with Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) leading the charge.

Sadly, this film does not live up to the hype.

Many people will hate me for saying that, many will agree. Critics and fans alike have been split over this film, with some regarding it as the worst DC film to date – even over the CGI Green Lantern fiasco. As a major Marvel fangirl – What a surprise the Marvel fan disliked the DC film! Shush! – I didn’t expect much of this movie compared to Marvel films and I was right to expect that.

Marvel spent four years (2008-2012) and five films putting together a coherent cast of heroes, with their origin stories and backgrounds already set up in previous films, BEFORE bringing them all together to form the Avengers. DC tried to do this in two movies – Man of Steel and Batman VS Superman – without explaining Affleck’s Batman backstory beforehand (although I admit it is one of the most well-known of all comic heroes) with a villain who sadly wasn’t interesting.

I respect Jesse Eisenberg as an actor, I really do, and he has been in some of my favourite films – Zombieland, anyone? – But he had some pretty big Villain shoes to fill after Heath Ledger’s past performances, not that anyone would’ve expected Jesse to straight off the bat. That was not meant to be pun, I swear.

Wonder Woman was pretty much the saving grace of this film, because she did her thing whilst the boys butted heads. Batman was pretty single minded (DUMB) and unyielding, and Superman just did not want to be Super. This whole film was lacking something vital which all Marvel films have and I certainly don’t believe this has the replay-ability of other films, but I’m optimistic for DC’s future with Suicide Squad and sincerely hope DC fans get the Justice League they deserve.

Below: The proposed order of all Marvel and DC movies for the coming years

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Derren Brown: Miracle

WARNING: At the request of Derren himself, no journalist or reviewer is permitted to reveal any of the tricks performed during the show. However, this review does make reference to evangelical faith healing and other such things, due to the show theme.

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In 2011, Brown released a show on Channel 4 called ‘Miracles for Sale’ which explored the techniques of faith healing and the many scams based off of this process. He aimed to discredit faith healers by using a member of the public, posing as ‘Pastor James’, to perform these so called miracles in America. Their adventures made for great television – but Brown also made a serious point: that faith healing exploits those it claims to help. This theme was revisited in his 2015 – 2016 tour of ‘Miracle’.

In this show, he shows his many reasons for disliking the scam practises of faith healing which are so prevalent these days; such as the extortion of money from those with illness for a fake healing, which can cost upwards of £1000 and thus the encouraging of abandoning medication under the assumption that they are now healed. “You have the despair of all those people who are no better – and it’s despair because they’re blaming their own selves and their faith for it not working,” he says. “And then you have these hordes of people who are following these healers round America; chronically ill people going from gig to gig to gig – and it just never happening, so there’s that wake of despair. And then there’s the money side of it.”

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When faith healing shows like these are attended by tens of thousands each time, all donating money which goes straight into the pockets of faith healers tax free; such as the well-known Pastor Benny Hinn, who is worth $40 million. However, Derren also shows his grudging appreciation for some of their techniques for the relief and happiness they can bring when used without ill intent.

Brown stresses that his criticisms are aimed at faith healers, rather than Christians saying: “This is not an attack on God, or faith, or any of those things. It’s about a scam, a greedy scam that has nothing to do with God apart from the fact they mention his name a lot.” But as he admits, there will doubtless be some Christians who do take offence.

Throughout this show, we are reminded that the things we see are not acts of God but acts of a rather more awe inspiring notion; normal, human beings. We are shown everyday miracles and extraordinary feats, all with their own risks; yet how with a simple switching of your perspective a before daunting task becomes mere child’s play, with the risk suddenly disappearing as a worry.

Derren urges the audience at the start of his faith healing set-piece to “go with it”. “You have to suspend your skepticism”, he says: “it works only if you want it to work”. As we close our eyes and open our hearts to Brown’s pep talk throughout the show, some of the audience begin to become more open and a visible change comes across those susceptible to his positive persuasions.

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Many that I was near that night felt no change, and indeed, a large majority felt no different through this trick; it was, in my personal opinion, a very emotional and affecting piece which has drastically changed my belief that the stirring faith healing techniques were merely enhanced by clever stooges, but real.

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The entire second half of the performance perfectly summed up the emotions that us as the audience and Derren himself felt about this set, which made his last point all the more poignant to me.

I won’t tell you all of what he said in his final speech because it was something you truly had to be there to be able to understand, but his last words to the audience summed up the tone exceedingly well; “Life is like a piece of music,” he tells us, “and you’re supposed to be dancing.”

Well Derren, I certainly will be.