Saturday, March 26, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Don't worry about the bad reviews this film is getting because in less than 10 years we'll have another rebooted Batman franchise.

Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice – 3 out of 5

It’s been awhile since I’ve been disappointed with a superhero film.  Now, I know some might see this review and hit the fanboy default comment and think that I’m a Marvel fanboy and automatically hate all things DC but nothing could be further from the truth.  I buy a lot of DC comics (especially their trades), I always sing the praises of their animated films and have, on several occasions, stated that even the weakest of DC’s animated films are infinitely better than the ones Marvel used to do and, additionally, I gave a great review of Green Lantern and gave Man of Steel a perfect score while others were hating on them.  The reality is I was super excited for Batman v Superman and was even at San Diego Comic-Con when the announcement of this film was made and I’ve been not so patiently waiting for this film but, after watching it for myself and experiencing the product, I’m a little disappointed.

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"Hmm...It seems Superman has a hole in the crotch of his costume."

A few years after Superman (Henry Cavill) was revealed to the world and his battle with Zod left Metropolis leveled, the United States government and savvy businessman Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) are incredibly distrustful of them.  However, another believes Superman to be a threat to the world and he’s out to hold him accountable for the potential dangers he imposes on the world.  Gotham City’s dark knight; Batman (Ben Affleck), sees an invader that could destroy the world and sets out to find out his weakness and make the man answer for what he’s done in the name of being a hero.  However, little does either hero realize that there are other forces at work setting them against each other.

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Supes just now noticed Batman's "Superman is totes dumb" tattoo.

Let me make this clear:  I didn’t hate Batman v Superman.  I've already come under fire for tweeting that I only liked it.  I was disappointed with it but I did like it.  I wanted so badly to love it but there were so many problems that I couldn’t love it.  I don’t like to compare DC’s films to Marvel’s but the MCU films are capable of having minor problems that are very easy to overlook and I’m still able to love them.  I wanted to have that with this one but it just ended with me just liking it.  So, why’s that?  What held this back to the point where my superhero obsessed, comic-loving geek lifestyle couldn’t handle?

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After Lex talks about not picking a fight with Clark, I half expected him to look
at the camera and wink.

One of the biggest issues is the fact that the DC cinematic universe feels rushed with this film.  I found myself wondering if a Superman sequel and a solo Batman film produced and released before this film could have helped because Zack Snyder and the writers are trying way too hard to cram in too much exposition and future story and character developments.  Cameos from Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash are cool and all and get my geek going but it really pulled away from a self-contained story about Bats and Supes getting into a massive misunderstanding.  There are also some really awkward dream sequences that do nothing but set up future films and they felt very out-of-place.  Also, without having a film that could have helped establish the new Bruce Wayne/Batman and Lex Luthor, this film scrambles and drags the first and second act out with getting the audience to know these characters while at the same time trying to get the story developed.  It was really all too much and it made for a lot of the story to drag.  It’s actually amazing that this story can feel like it is overflowing with too much stuff and yet still be a nearly three hour movie.

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What does the world look like to Superman when he has his heat vision thing going on?

Another element that I was disappointed with was the feel that it was very light on the superhero action for the first two acts.  The whole time Zach Snyder is giving us the not-so-subtle Christ imagery with Superman and pushing the overloaded story forward, I found myself getting very antsy to see Batman stealthily take out some villains and Superman to travel faster than the speed of sound.  However, this complaint was easily rectified—and much of the film, in general—when the third act hits.

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The 15 minute staring contest was a little strange though.

Once Doomsday is revealed (which I really wished the trailers didn’t show) and the big fight takes place, the movie finally hits its stride and I was very entertained.  Despite the fact that Zack Snyder clearly hates big cities and decided that, this time around, it was Gotham’s turn to be completely obliterated, this fight between the beast that killed Supes in 1992 and DC’s Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman is littered with big action set pieces and grand comic spectacle.  Not to mention this scene brings us Wonder Woman and it’s clear that Gal Gadot really was an excellent choice to play the part because she was all kinds of badass.  It’s also here that I truly got to appreciate just how amazing the score to the film was as it emphasized the action incredibly well.

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Seriously, Warner Bros., you couldn't wait to reveal him?  You had to do it
in a trailer?

Another thing I really liked about the film was Ben Affleck as Batman.  I was on-board with Batfleck from the announcement and I'm glad I'm not force to eat my defensive words of his abilities.  He really embodied both Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader and his performance really helped the slower, more cluttered parts of the film go by a little easier.  I also really enjoyed Jeremy Irons as Alfred and wanted to see more of him.  On the other side of the spectrum, I’m a little on the fence about Jesse Eisenberg as Lex.  His performance wasn’t bad but this portrayal of the iconic Superman villain is so different than the other portrayals I’ve seen in the past.  That isn’t to say I thought it was bad but I’m definitely undecided on whether or not I truly felt he was the best person for the part.

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Don't be sad, Batfleck.  You've successfully stole what was suppose to be a Superman sequel.

On one hand, DC feels like they have a lot of ground to cover in order to catch up to what Marvel has accomplished with their shared cinematic universe and this desire to get their universe established and established quickly might be the reason for all the issues with the story this film had and the awkward bits of development and exposition but, on the other hand, giving a big product like two of the most iconic superheroes facing off on the big screen for the first time ever to a director who is really only good at making popcorn action and making it look good might not have been the best decision.  Much like Michael Bay, Snyder’s talents reside in filming action and filming it with tons of flair and flash but he can’t quite handle story, character development and human emotion.  In my opinion, I thought he succeed in accomplishing these elements in Man of Steel but this project might have been too much because they are just not seen in this one.

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Still, it's kinda worth the crap for this shot alone.

I’m not going to say I hated Batman v Superman nor will I say that I am in love with it either.  I did, however, like it but that’s it, I only liked it.  The film has enough redeeming factors that I’m glad I saw it in the theaters and I’m definitely going to purchase it on Blu-Ray when it comes out but the film does falter a lot with the reality that Warner Bros. and DC are trying way too hard to plan four movies ahead and they ended up cramming in too much into this feature when a more streamlined, self-contained story that holds only hints to a future shared universe might have probably fared better.  It’s still super cool to see a live-action team-up of these two titans of the comic world but this film should have been way more epic.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I've been worried about their rush to include every character and develop a shared universe from the beginning. Still, with Marvel already several years ahead in that regard, I suppose it was easy for DC to fall into the trap of trying to catch up instead of build it up slowly. Still going to see it though.


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