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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Movie Review- Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Superman. Batman. This is going to rock the heavens!  Right?


Intro

The definition for the word "insecurity", states that it is an uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; Also a lack of confidence. Many films have shown that definition over the years by giving us signs. Signs such as having too many writers (Fantastic Four 2015), release delays (Jupiter Ascending), no pre-screenings for critics (R.I.P.D.), and/or spoiling a film's twist in its trailers (Terminator: Genisys). In their obvious struggle to catch up with Marvel Studios, Warner Brothers and their DC Comics division have rushed the process of their cinematic properties, just to compete. Turning a Man of Steel sequel into a mass marketing duel with its two most popular characters Superman and Batman, and then later adding in an introduction to the planned Justice League films, is obviously an attempt to rival The Avengers. Also, the odd choice for having a Suicide Squad film this early in the game (DC shared universe), feels like a risky attempt similar to 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. To put things honestly, WB/DC is paling in comparison to Marvel. Marvel even has their tv shows connected to their shared cinematic universe (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Jessica Jones), where WB/DC thinks that connecting their shows (Gotham, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl) to the movies, is not in their best interests. They aren't doing things right and it's going to bite them in the ass in the long run. Some of their films may be blockbusters, but who's going to keep caring down the road? I'd rather watch Iron Man any day of the week before I'd see Man of Steel again. It's a lot more fun and much more secure in itself.


Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice


Because I wanted to give this film a fair review that is devoid of my first time expectations, I saw Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice twice to make sure that my anger and disappointment was just. I would also like to state that at no time did I ever want this film to fail. I love Batman. I love Superman. I wanted this to be the gargantuan kick ass uber-spectacle that it deserves to be. The two greatest superheroes in comic book history squaring it up; What could go wrong? Zack Snyder, Warner Brothers, DC, and insecurity, of course. Their narrow vision has tainted a great premise, that should have become an epic movie (Super). No excuses. First off, I didn't know that it was possible to make a more depressing Superman movie than Man of Steel. Last time I checked, Batman and Gotham City were the ones that were dark and hopeless, and Superman and Metropolis were bright and full of hope. Not anymore. It seems that the darkness (and digital shading) has spread like THE Nothing (The Neverending Story) into Henry Cavill's (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) character and world. Who the hell wants to see a sad, unsure, Superman? Just give him some Zoloft for Christ's sake! In Superman II (1980), his uncertainty worked and was overcome before it became boring. When it lasts for an entire film though, not so much. This film also tries to be too many films at once. Aside from it being a direct sequel to Man of Steel and an introduction to Batman, it has many elements of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, parts of The Death of Superman comic, and the origins of a Justice League movie. A secure movie studio wouldn't try to premature ejaculate and go the Star Trek Into Darkness route. The storytelling itself is also problematic. It feels off and disjointed. By jumping back and forth between Batman, Bruce Wayne, Superman, Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, and Wonder Woman, nothing ever stays grounded. It's a juggling act that seldom works. There are no surprises in this film at all, thanks to the trailers. Unless you didn't know that Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered when he was a child, that is. Even though we've seen it dozens of times in the comics, tv shows, videogames, and other Batman movies, it all feels fresh because Snyder filmed the scene to look like his Watchmen film. No it doesn't. The time could have been much better spent. The action scenes look good and are entertaining, but I never once got the chills like I have with other superhero flicks. The scenes are accompanied by Hans Zimmer's (The Dark Knight trilogy) and Junkie XL's (300: Rise of an Empire) exciting score. It sounds like a combo of the Man of Steel score and Bane's theme from The Dark Knight Rises, except when Wonder Woman's theme kicks in; It's so jungle beatish that it reminded me of the cannibal scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Her theme song should have been "Who's That Girl?" from Madonna, with the way that she mysteriously pops in and out her scenes.

The two best characters in this entire film, are from Ben Affleck (Daredevil 2003) as Batman, and Jeremy Irons (Die Hard With a Vengeance) as Alfred Pennyworth. Affleck brings his perfect jaw structure (no homo) and matured acting chops to his version of Batman. Is he my favorite version of the Dark Knight? I'm not sure. Similar to Christian Bale's Caped Crusader, there's way more of Bruce Wayne, and much less of Batman. I do like his performance, but the film's overall problems affects everything. Irons has the best lines in the film, but don't blink or you'll miss him. Besides Cavill's emo face, he also has moments of anger and disapproval that contradict his character's classic nature. And I swear that he even does an eye roll during one scene. Holy shit! I just realized that this film's Superman is a spoiled premenstrual teenager. No wonder he's down in the dumps. Life is so hard, even when you're the most powerful whiny bitch on the planet. Eeyore would be proud. Amy Adams (American Hustle) as Lois Lane, gets more screen time than needed. I believe that more time should have been spent on Batman's previous ordeals and less on her connecting the dots to what we had figured out all along. The worst character award goes to Jesse Eisenberg's (The Social Network) portrayal of Lex Luthor. Robert Downey Jr. knew to never go full retard (Tropic Thunder), but Jesse forgot to never go full batshit. How can anyone take him seriously when he blathers on and on like a loony that belongs in a straitjacket, and not on the cover of Forbes. I picture him as a mixture of Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man and Jim Carrey's Riddler from Batman Forever (without the homosexual overtones). Brief appearances from Gal Gadot (Triple 9), Diane Lane (Judge Dredd), Holly Hunter (The Incredibles), Laurence Fishburne (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer), and Harry Lennix (The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions), accommodate the film, however they don't leave much impression besides Hunter and Gadot. Gadot is only memorable because she's in the ending's big battle. Too many players, too much time. What?!


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice


The Good- The destruction from Man of Steel via Affleck's perspective ("Hey buddy. Ya might wanna get out of that building."). The congressional bombing. And the few times that Bats gets to kick some ass.

The Bad- In line with the storytelling, the build up to the film title's promise is lackluster. They have one previous encounter as Supes and Bats, and six months of gullible ignorance and finger pointing, before this huge confrontation that doesn't deliver. You want to know why it doesn't? Because the whole film wasn't set up properly. It had no impact, metaphorically. A little more humor might have lightened things up as well. Why so serious?

The Ugly- "Martha"? That's the safe word? Are you kidding me? Wow great detective! It took a simple name to make you realize something that you should have noticed if you had done some actual detecting! "Holy retarded oversight, Batman!"



Final Thoughts


Although this film is decent and entertaining to watch, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has no excuse for being less than the best. The formula was there, just not the discipline. Cramming two of comics' most historical events into one scene, does not make it awesome. It makes it suck. They should have taken their time and introduced those moments into full length films where those stories deserve to be told. Instead we get a rushed version of Doomsday that's a hybrid of Lex and Zod. Are you shittin me?! Yeah I spoiled it! I don't give a shit just like the filmmakers who half-assed this movie didn't either. They wanted to give it all up now so that we would come see it. That's the definition of insecurity.
Rating- 5 out of 10


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
PG-13 | 2h 31min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 25 March 2016 (USA)



Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer 
Stars: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams

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