Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice*

batman-v-superman-reviews
*Spoilers ahead!!

Expectations

Alright, so I went to the theater last weekend and bought a ticket for the 9pm showing.

After all the hype and commercials, I thought that Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice would be focused on an epic battle of “god” vs man, a contemplation on the temperamental whims and good graces of society in elevating and destroying prominent figures, and potentially a great tie in for Wonder Woman, since she was finally on the screen.

Then I heard it was 2 hours + and I got worried. How long was that battle anyway?

*Spoilers ahead


Review

Overall, I feel cheated because I was not warned that I should go in with absolutely ZERO expectation that this film would hold up with the plot, character development, or even (god forbid) the grace/style exhibited by prior games, movies, or comics.

No, the film was like meeting the in-laws. Your significant other had hyped it up, but it turns out they’re really all douches. And you’re left wondering how something so amazing came from such a cluster-fuck.

Or, in the case of this film, how something so cluster-fucked could be sourced from such amazing material.

Core focal points for me:

  • Plot
  • Actors & Characters
  • The true hero(es) of the film.

Granted, I’m skipping a lot. I could wax poetic about the other metahumans or the effects and graphics, but for me, this movie hinged primarily on the plot, the characters and the highlights (of which there were two).

Stay tuned.

The Plot

Sadly, the expectations from the hype were unsubstantiated in the actual viewing. Instead of the focus on the rise and fall of each respective character in the eyes of the masses, the focus was on Bruce’s and Clark’s mutual need for intensive therapy after the lose of loved ones. These unresolved issues did nothing but cloud the entire plot of the story (hint, there is a life lesson here…Get grief counseling before becoming a superhero).

Why 70% of the film focuses on mourning their respective losses -which shouldn’t be this fresh after 30+ years- I didn’t understand. The entire emotional turmoil that both Bruce and Clark struggle with, seemed only present in order to have a way to point at the two and say “See!! They are so alike!”

And the whole mutual tragedy and understanding of loss painfully hinged on the overwhelmingly weak coincidence of their mothers who happened to have the same name. Suddenly, they understand each other, hug out their differences, and decide to be friends?

Yes, deep down, we are all fucked up in just the same way… And all fights are trivial in comparison..

I’m not going to pick on how Bruce’s animosity towards Superman is brewed within the first 20 minutes of the film, I was more wondering why this business mogul decided Metropolis was a great place to expand his Gotham based business empire. For the industry he focused on, placing a branch right across the bay (practically, although geographically questionable according to the comics) seemed strange. But who cares? It progresses the plot!

And, hey, I’m not even going to point out the ludicrous nature of these dreams that took up almost an hour of screen time by themselves. It didn’t seem like they’d ever end and frankly, I had to stop myself from looking for DiCaprio in every dream sequence. Nor will I question how Flash flashed-back into a… dream? Flashback? We may never know what that was.

One major, painful crux critical to the movement of the film depended on the viewer believing that Lex, despite his awkward, often illogical antics, could manage to be the great mastermind that engineered all the conflict present in the film. The reason for his friction with Superman and/or Batman isn’t even explained until near the end in which he articulates his anger at Superman being viewed as a savior or god which, somehow, related to Lex being abused by his father.

Hashtag daddy issues.

Aside from maybe two sentences, this topic is never to be expounded upon or mentioned again. Nevertheless, this galvanized Lex’s life mission to destroy Superman and manipulate Batman into doing the dirty work.

Cool. Forget logic. Just roll with it.

The Actors (20%) & Characters (80%)

Batman

Ben Affleck does a pretty decent Batman and an even better Bruce Wayne. He did perfect that world-weary look one would expect of Batman approaching the latter years of his life (post 35-40?). And despite my disdain for the character direction, Affleck added as much grit as possible to the Batman persona, especially at the beginning. Too bad it all got watered down as the movie progressed.

In the film Bruce spends a hefty chunk of his time preoccupied with sullen strides through the Wayne cemeterial plot. I figured with all the time he spent in the graveyard, he must be chiseling out his tombstone right next to his parents. Yes, share yet again that your anger and rage should be channeled at Superman for the sheer reason that Superman is practically invincible (except for that one shiny green weakness) and that Bruce feels threatened by this strength. Oh, and because his ex-employee didn’t cash Bruce’s checks.

Between his somber walks among the graves, and his unquenchable thirst for erasing perceived threats, Batman spends the remaining time hallucinating about Armageddon and shooting people. Yes, I couldn’t believe it either but his anti-gun policy went out the window almost instantly upon donning his cape.

In the big clash with Superman, Batman comes across as an unreasonable bully who let his fear and rage override his common sense -not a great look for the “world’s greatest detective”. But, hey, he manages to gloss over all the mistakes of 80% of the film to…shoot a gun and dodge DoomsDay for 10 minutes.

G’job, man. You really impressed there.

Superman

If you crossed great power and detached responsibility with a five-year old, you’d get Superman. Innocent, naive, and still not quite grasping the essence of human psychology or irrationality. Although with his parenting, it’s not terribly overreaching that he’d turn out like this.

I have to give it to Henry Cavill, he really sold his character and I could really see past the actor to the character I was liking even less by the minute (I’m not really a Superman fan to begin with, FYI). The acting wasn’t overdone, and I think he channeled the character well, but yet again, I can’t fault Cavill’s acting for the sins of his character.

In many ways, Clark comes across as the emo-child in high school that remains unloved and alone despite all efforts to be popular. As this famous alien who could be an asset or a threat, depending on who spun the story, Clark also proves that while his civilian life may be that of a news reporter, he is horrifically bad at being his own marketing campaign manager. His thinking and logic tends to be rather linear and devoid of complex strategy, which is not uncommon but is rather disappointing, considering he’s going up against both Batman and Lex throughout the film.

And his whole “let’s focus on how bad Batman is instead of me” is rather flimsy- even more so than is pointed by other characters (think Daily Planet editor) throughout the film. His whole disgruntlement stems from “Batman is more hardcore than me” despite the fact that Superman stands accused of multiple mass homicides, a bombing, and other horrific acts of violence at various points of the film.

Pointing at Batman and saying “but he’s worse than me” isn’t a good look.

Lex Luther

And Lex… reminded me of Joker. The strange, rambling speeches, the discombobulated logic, the frankly over-done posturing, and even his chuckles all served to remind me of dearly departed Joker (that is, we are following after the batman trilogy, right?).

I won’t pick on the casting overly much, but I didn’t find Jesse Eisenberg to be a good fit for the character. Even if the direction was to be over-the-top and conniving, I was constantly reminded that the character and actor were a bit at odds. Granted, my impression of Lex Luther from prior film and comic encounters is of an irrational and angry man who, nevertheless, has a cool head for planning and outstanding strategy without the reckless insanity that permeated this film.

Frankly, I kinda blame the actor and the character design for this performance of Lex.

Lex would absolutely start a vendetta over loss of hair on his head. Spouting off nonsense in front of a room full of guests…not so much.

The True Hero of this Film

The real star here was Wonder Woman, hands down. Chic, bad-ass, and as ready to brawl as any of the other main characters, she really brought that moment of worth towards the end during the battle with Doomsday.

Plus, her theme song was kick-asssss!!!

Wonder Woman single-handedly rescued this movie for me. If anything, I’m looking forward to her film. The character design -and costume design- were impeccable. I also liked that they strayed toward keeping her ethnic, especially since she’s from South America. Nice plus.

Finally, the soundtrack. The soundtrack really elevated a subpar film and made it bearable. If nothing else, I had more fun with my ears than my eyes for the majority of this film.

 

Verdict: A Disappointing C-

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Published by

opalflame

I am artist, analyst, author, poet, composer, musician to name a few aspects of myself. A bit of a jack of trades, I dabble into many fields that encourage the blossom of imagination and allow me to channel my creativity. I dream vividly and view the world through the lens of optimism and opportunity while acknowledging the ink and shadows.

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