Seriously, this was a movie
For any following the headlines regarding a certain movie that released on March 25th, you’d think that fans who went and saw or were going to see the film were in for a showing of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians without the comedic commentary of the MST3K guys, which I can only imagine as being a horrible movie going experience. For those of you who still haven’t seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, fear not. As much as the headlines would like you to believe, the movie is not the modern day equivalent of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Instead it is a massive booted foot kicking open the doors of summer movie blockbuster season.
While Batman V Superman is definitely not going to win any Oscars, it is certainly not the letdown other sites would lead you to believe it to be. So, let’s start with what the movie did right, and where my initial impressions were so very, very wrong. Snyder’s Batman in Batman V Superman felt to me as if he were a blending of three very distinct takes on Batman. The age and mannerisms in which the character was portrayed was very reminiscent of Frank Miller’s take on the caped crusader in his Dark Knight and Dark Knight Returns books. This is an older, more experienced Batman, and one far more punishing in how he deals with the criminals of Gotham. Miller’s influence is not the only one we see in this version of Batman. The fighting style, as well as the fluidity of the way Batman moves is definitely a call back to Batman: The Animated Series, as well as the brutality seen in the Arkham series video games. All this, with aesthetic and silhouette that reminds viewers of a blend of Jim Lee, and Lee Bermejo’s takes on Batman from comics like Hush, or Batman: Noel.
and I’m brooding, and I’m brooding
It wasn’t just Affleck’s Batman that kept me on the edge of my seat, but his take on Bruce Wayne as well. The decision to go with an older Bruce/Batman allowed viewers to see what the years of crime fighting, as well as the loss of those close to him have done to Bruce; creating cracks in the carefully maintained billionaire playboy persona he’s hid the darker vigilante behind. Whether it be the small facial tics displayed in his first meeting with Clark Kent, or how the carefully maintained smiles and courteous remarks are betrayed by the weariness in his eyes, viewers can see the Bat seething underneath, just waiting to get out. Basically, this Batman has seen some shit, and knows regardless of how broken, or tired he is that he is the only one who can deal with the shit. But enough about Batman, on to the show stealer, Gal Gadot.
For a large part of the movie Wonder Woman is non-existent. Instead audiences are treated to her civilian alter-ego Diana Prince, a dealer of ancient antiquities and all around mysterious woman, whom instantly catches Bruce’s eye at the charity event where viewers catch all the major players together for the first time in the movie. Gadot plays Diana with a bit of snark to her, as if this warrior princess has seen enough of the world of man and the petty games that are played, going as far as to refer to Bruce and Clark as boys.
and angry face…grrr!
While Gadot definitely stole the show in her civilian role, it’s the moment we see her tiara, sword, and shield and all is when the theater I saw the movie in erupted, here was the Wonder Woman fans had been waiting for. During the climactic battle of the movie, while Batman was hiding behind cover, and Superman dealing with his own issues, Gadot’s Wonder Woman was in the thick of battle, this was no damsel in distress, if anything I was expecting her to finish off the big baddie and then turn to look at Supes and Bats, and ask “Where the hell were you two?” As if to add icing to the cake of awesomeness that was Gadot’s performance there’s even a moment with the lasso that worked perfectly in the way it was used. If these brief glimpses of Wonder Woman are what we can expect from her full length movie, then I will be first in line for tickets.
In case you haven’t noticed, I am doing my best to keep this review spoiler free, but considering that the big baddie of the movie, well one of them anyway, was introduced in the trailer, I will talk about him a little bit, and that is Doomsday. The little bit I will say is this, what you see in the trailer is not what you get in the movie. Super Saiyin is all I’m saying.
Yup, he makes that face through the whole movie.
While overall I thought the movie was great and I had a great time watching it, there are definitely some negatives to the movie that are hard to ignore. Snyder’s story telling is all over the place, and at times doesn’t make sense. A perfect example of this is a cameo by one of the Justice League members that comes after the nightmare sequence we’ve seen in the trailers. Taken separately from the movie, it was an awesome cameo, especially seeing the direction taken with the costume, but played in the context of the film it felt forced, and completely out of place, as if only used for fan service. Choppy storytelling isn’t the only issue with Batman V Superman. One of the biggest issues for me sitting through the movie was Superman, and I was and still am a fan of Man of Steel. It just seemed throughout the entirety of Dawn of Justice that Superman was dealing with the loss of his puppy, or someone eating the last piece of his Mom’s apple pie, or something. Seriously the man broods more than Batman, and that’s what Batman is known for. I get it, the weight of the world is on his shoulders, and the guilt of all the destruction from his fight with Zod, but Superman represents hope, all of things that makes humanity great. Now I’m not saying he needs to be running around cracking jokes like the Flash, or Green Arrow, but Superman has always had this boy scout cheeriness/innocence about him that was simply missing from the film, and yes, before you say it, I realize I was watching a Zack Snyder film, but really, one can only take so much emo Superman. Then, there was Lex.
Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor, a decision I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about, even after watching the movie. Eisenberg’s performance of Lex Luthor reminded me slightly of Gene Hackman’s portrayal in the Richard Donner movies, but scarier. His Lex Luthor reminded me of that friend you had that you knew one day you would read about in the wrong section of the paper, but until that day were constantly going be asking if they had taken their medication for the day, to make sure that you were safe hanging out with them. It really wasn’t until towards the end of the movie that I was able to see Lex in the character Eisenberg was portraying, but even then I wasn’t sure I was a fan of the characterization. Unfortunately, I think the portrayal of Lex Luthor in Bruce Timm’s animated DC works, as well as other DC animated features have solidified Lex in our heads as the intimidating business head, and not a manic millennial with the same anger issues as Kylo Ren.
Of the many things reviewers of Batman V Superman found wrong, the one thing that really stands out to me, unfortunately was the choppy storytelling, and not because of what was left, but what was taken out, and held back, only to be released in the upcoming R rated blu-ray/DVD release, an edit that Warner Brothers is also mulling over releasing in theaters. From the hints, and scene leaks that have made it online, it seems a lot of the edits that landed on the cutting room floor, would of a gone a long way towards filling in the gaps in the story that have left many frustrated by this movie. It seems the release of the movie, timed with the leaks of deleted scenes, the further explanation of scenes in the movie was all one big marketing ploy by WB to milk Batman V Superman for all it’s worth, instead of making a movie that told a cohesive story, knowing that fans would shell out more money for the R rated release with the knowledge that it fills in the missing story pieces, which in my mind makes it painfully obvious that the wrong kind of people are calling the shots over at WB.
At the end of it all, Batman V Superman is exactly what you’d expect it to be, a movie full of amazingly choreographed action sequences, brutal fights, and a lot of angry glares, and while it does have it’s fair share of issues, questionable casting choices, abrupt story tangents, missed opportunities, and ….hey..look, at least it’s not friggen Suckerpunch okay? Bottom line is this, Batman V Superman is definitely not going to win an Oscar, or gain Zack Snyder any further accolades, but if you found yourself in the group that enjoyed Man of Steel most likely you’ll enjoy Dawn of Justice, and if you didn’t like Man of Steel, then most likely you will not enjoy Batman V Superman and probably should stop going to see Zack Snyder films going forward. For this reviewer, Affleck’s Batman nailed it, Superman needs to get a new puppy, and Gal Gadot “is” Wonder Woman, but don’t take my word for it, go see the movie.
Til next time,
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