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Movie Reviews: 'Justice League' And 'Mudbound'

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's a bird. It's a plane. Nah, it's just another superhero movie out this week. This one stars Batman but also Wonder Woman, who had a blockbuster hit with critics and moviegoers earlier this year. It's called "Justice League." Angelica Jade Bastien, staff writer for Vulture, is here to talk about it. And if superheroes are not your jam, never fear. We're also going to ask her about another new movie, this one with Oscar buzz.

Hey, Angelica.

ANGELICA BASTIEN: Hey, how are you doing?

MARTIN: I am doing well, anxious to hear your thoughts on "Justice League." This is pulling together a lot of big characters from the DC Comics Universe, right?

BASTIEN: Yes, it is. And I'm surprised how much I liked it.

MARTIN: Really?

BASTIEN: Yeah. Well, one thing - when it comes to superhero films, I'm pretty much the target audience. I've been reading superhero comics since I was 10 years old, specifically DC Comics. But I find pretty much all the superhero films you can name pretty terrible as movies. But "Justice League" hit a strange sweet spot for me. And in my opinion, it's sort of like cinematic cotton candy. It's fun, it's a bit ridiculous, and it has no nutritional value whatsoever.

MARTIN: I love it. I love it. So speaking of ridiculous - sorry, Ben Affleck - but - so Ben is starring in this. He is - I think it's fair to say he got some blowback the first time he went at this role. Before we get any further, let's hear a clip. This is Ben Affleck as Batman in the "Justice League."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JUSTICE LEAGUE")

BEN AFFLECK: (As Batman) So you're fast.

EZRA MILLER: (As The Flash) That feels like an oversimplification.

AFFLECK: (As Batman) I'm putting together a team - people with special abilities.

MARTIN: So that was him trying to convince The Flash to join up on his team. You've got Affleck on one side. On the other side, you've got Gal Gadot, who has been hugely praised as Wonder Woman. So does this make sense? Do they work together in this?

BASTIEN: So they work together partially because they keep undercutting Batman as a character. Like, right after your clip cuts off, The Flash cuts him off, and he's like I'm down. Like, everyone kind of undercuts his broodiness. And so his character is a lot more softened in this movie. Wonder Woman continues to be the shining light. And they need to just sort of make all their universe kind of revolve around her because she has been the strongest example DC has done so far.

MARTIN: Love it.

BASTIEN: It was a really fun movie.

MARTIN: I want to give you a chance to talk about another movie - different kind of movie, this one getting some Oscar attention. You really liked this. This is "Mudbound."

BASTIEN: Yeah, I think "Mudbound" may be my favorite film of the year that I've seen thus far. It takes place in the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s and is about two different families - one black, one white. And it's a remarkably emotionally intelligent film, one of the smartest films I've seen in a very long time when it comes to the relationship between black and white women in the South and especially about class differences.

MARTIN: Well, you have given us a lot to think about, a lot to see in the theaters. This is the season of good movie offerings. And Angelica Jade Bastien just talked with us about two of them.

Angelica, thanks so much.

BASTIEN: Thank you.

MARTIN: She's a staff writer at Vulture. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.