Aug 3, 2016

[Movies] Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

The irony is not lost on me that as I write this review for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first reviews for Suicide Squad have also hit the press and the feedback isn't too encouraging. This movie was met with similar criticism when it came out earlier this year, but many fans were adamant that the critics did not know what they were talking about and probably misunderstood the movie.

And that's a weird way of looking at things - that the movie can only be truly understood by fans despite the fact that the movies don't exactly adhere closely to the original source material. If a movie can only be understood by the people who already love the character then it can't possibly be a good movie? Or at the very least, it's one that does not communicate a complete narrative since the assumption is that only "true" fans can fill in the blanks inherent to the story.

I had low expectations for this movie and I dragged my feet before we eventually caught the movie on home video. I wish we hadn't though.

Synopsis: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a superhero drama movie directed by Zack Snyder. The story was written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer.

The movie begins with the us being made to realize that the Batman (Ben Affleck) has been active in Gotham for almost 20 years. More importantly, Batman in human form Bruce Wayne has come to the conclusion that Superman (Henry Cavill) is the true villain here especially given the events that took place in Superman Returns. We watch the same action, but this time around ground level as Bruce Wayne does what he can to save people while Superman was engaged in the battle overhead. On the flip side, Superman in human guise Clark Kent is increasing bothered by Batman's vigilante actions in Gotham and hopes to expose him for his crimes. Throw in a lot of questions about where Superman's mandate to intervene in public matters comes from. Stir the chamber and rinse when done.

When you get past the visual Snyder-isms like the many, many Jesus metaphors and various slow-motion shots, the movie has a very odd narrative path. But then you get Snyder-isms mixed into a superhero narrative, and thus the odd plot moment where Batman has visions of an apocalyptic future. You have Superman seemingly losing more and more of his humanity despite montages of him being surrounded by people he hates. Random Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).

And quite frankly. most of the Wonder Woman moments make up the best parts of the movie.

I don''t understand Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). His character gathers a heck of a lot of plot-irrelevant research into other super-powered individuals so that Bruce Wayne / Batman can eventually watch all these almost-trailers for upcoming DC movies. He also gets visited by a heavily distorted version of The Flash (Ezra Miller) with another ominous message of sorts because that's sort of the routine here. He also orchestrates things to paint Superman in a less than negative light but beyond that is anyone's guess. Cue random Doomsday-style character!

The movie has Superman and Batman not comfortable with one another most of the time since this version of Batman  is convinced Superman is unrealistic and playing a god figure while Kent thinks Batman has crossed a line. But to be fair this version of Batman is rather weird given his proclivity for excessive violence and practically branding criminals at times. This Batman is rather terrible and needs to be taken down in time. But then Superman has literally let things get to his head a bit plus there's an odd sub-plot about the government looking into his actions plus more randomness in a blackmail sub-plot!

As a comic book fan, I had trouble accepting the characterization for the two. They didn't feel like right Superman and Batman for this story. Then again, the story also felt wrong and unnecessarily complicated so much so that it felt almost random to the point of being chaotic. But this supposed to be something orchestrated by the legendary Lex Luthor, genius industrialist and scientist. But instead he acts like a weird comic book geek who wrote some fanfic and left things at that.

So at  least Wonder Woman was awesome. I have strong hopes for her solo movie. As or the rest of them, still feeling rather meh. And totally not invested in the coming Justice League movie because silly things like that bit about Martha was just ridiculous. Totally, totally ridiculous. And don't get me started on damsel in distress Lois Lane (Amy Adams) whose super power is to go where the plot needs her to be despite logic.

And please don't tell me that the only way to appreciate this movie is by looking for the extended video-only release of the movie. If Snyder needs like another hour to tell the story, then maybe he's not suited for movies or movie endings in general Maybe he needs a method that doesn't not deny common sense so much. There is grace in brevity!

Batman v Superman is a terrible DC movie and one that serves as a poor foundation for the coming Justice League movie and leaves its own foundation on shaky ground. I know it's not supposed to be the Avengers or any other Marvel movie, but darker and more serious somehow. Thus the movie only gets 2 weird Batman versus Superman fight sequences out of 5.

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