Batman V. Superman – Movie Review

29 03 2016
batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-poster

The Darker Knight vs. The Almost As Dark Superman

Batman V Superman tells the story of what happens when people have too much control, too much power, and how they can selfishly harm others with their toxic viewpoints. Of course I’m talking about director Zach Snyder, but I suppose that could also apply to his broody version of super people.
.
Let me start by saying as a fan, I was disappointed by the critics’ reviews before the movie released, and went in with lowered expectations, but still holding on to some optimism. Hey, remember when I actually enjoyed Man of Steel? Maybe they were just comparing the tone to Marvel. DC is darker. The Dark Knight was dark, but a near-perfect movie. Maybe the trailers hadn’t really spoiled everything (what an innocent child I was!). Maybe Zach Snyder actually would be less…Zach Snyder-ly. If anything, at least this would be a fun ride. I mean, the start of the Justice League can’t be a drag, can it?
.
And then Bruce Wayne started floating out of that freakin’ cave and my optimism got a kick in the crotch.
.
If you’re a fan of anything Zach Snyder touches, feel free to ignore this review and roll around in bliss. Heck, I didn’t hate everything about this movie, but there’s a lot of stuff that made me sigh, check my watch, and wonder how many exec’s family members Snyder had to hold hostage to get some of this mess onscreen. Don’t worry, I’ll anger word vomit at the end of the review- first up, the things that worked.
Batman-v-Superman-Affleck-Irons-alfred

For example, these guys. These guys worked.

The soundtrack was OK overall, with some bright spots (particularly the opening). However, at times you could almost sense Hans Zimmer going on autopilot, sighing to himself, and remembering the good old days when he worked for coherent movies.
.
Ben Affleck as Batman was one of the highlights. Ben, I’m sorry I doubted your capacity and made cheap Daredevil movie jokes. You’re buff, brooding, and communicated a world of your character’s tortured backstory that explained your bleak outlook, though it’s still weird to see Batman killing whoever he dang feels like killing.Jeremy Irons as Alfred was great as well, offering most of the little humor found in the movie. He won’t be dethroning my personal favorite, Michael Caine, anytime soon, but he casually stole every scene he appeared in for me.
batman-v-superman-trinity-wonder-woman.png

Yes this was cool. Yes it was already spoiled in the trailers.

One of the biggest surprises I had during the viewing (and there weren’t many, thanks to the trailers) was Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The script actually handled her well, and she sold me on the role (again, sorry for questioning your selection beforehand). She didn’t have a whole lot of screen time, but commanded attention when she did appear, and now I’m excited for her upcoming standalone movie.
.
Henry Cavill as Superman was, uh, there. I’m not sure which was worse- the lines they gave him, the direction he was given, or the boring acting he brought.
.
Jesse Eisenberg‘s Lex Luthor gave me sadness cancer. If you’re familiar with the real character from the comics, imagine if they had cast Seth Rogen (with ridiculous hair) as Kingpin in the Daredevil series, and you’ll arrive at roughly the same amount of frustrated confusion. I noticed that they threw in something about his dad being Lex Luthor, or maybe that was just backstory since he was also Lex Luthor, or good gosh why did he get so much screen time. All that time, and he still didn’t have a real reason for hating Superman, besides vague childhood issues and anger at God or Superman or he thought he was God or that there was no god and mostly his motivation was stupid. Eisenberg had the miscast and annoying super combo.
Batman-v-Superman-lex-luthor-eisenberg

Lex Luthor, wondering who stole his cocaine, probably.

Ultimately, there’s a lot wrong about this movie (Angry Spoilers follow). Why did we need so much boring and inconsequential side plot with Lois Lane? Why did we have to see her get rescued by Superman 3 times in one movie?  Why did they blame Superman for people killed by guns in the desert? What the crap was the deal with those stupid bullets? Why did Jimmy Olsen and Mercy Graves get included, only to be quickly killed off? How come Superman was so ridiculously oblivious with the bomb, despite the senator stammering for what seemed like 3 years? How does Lex know about the other meta-humans, and why did he feel the need to create little logos for each one on his secret folder? Why does the Cyborg segment feel like a Youtube fan video? How did the “Martha” story twist not get everyone in screenwriting fired? Would you stop pummeling what you think is humanity’s greatest threat, just because your mothers share the same name? Why doesn’t every criminal in Gotham say their mother’s name is Martha?  Why did they spoil 90% of the movie in the trailers? Why did they put a lifetime of dreams in the movie, and why are all of them tripping on acid? Is this Batman’s new super power?  Why does Doomsday’s CGI look like shiny poop? Why not hand the Kryptonite spear to Wonder Woman? (Angry Spoilers End)
batman-v-superman-doomsday-cgi.png

The only thing the trailer didn’t spoil about Doomsday was how bad his CGI would be.

Surprisingly after all that, this film did pique my interest in more installments in DC’s universe, just not any soiled by Zach Snyder’s style over substance model. I want to see a standalone Batman film, and a Wonder Woman feature as well. Maybe we could even have some fun along the way. These are people in tights with super powers after all.
.
To sum up, the real tragedy of this movie is it had so much potential with the cast and premise, but ultimately got smothered by a deadly serious, meandering, boring film that thought it was way more profound than it actually was. Motivations didn’t make sense, and the more interesting elements/relationships were left out to dry. And geez, Superman, you can fly and shoot lasers out of your eyes. Stop being such a brooding bore.
Advertisements




Man of Steel Review

17 06 2013

man_of_steel_poster

I’ll cut to the chase here- Man of Steel is the best Superman movie (in my opinion), but is that really something the director wants to put on his bumper sticker? That’s like getting a “Most Normal-Looking Person” award at Wal-Mart- it’s great, but was it really that difficult? (To be fair, I haven’t seen the whole first Superman movie, but I also wouldn’t have the nostalgia factor). There’s a minimum of cheese and bad effects, not to mention no blasted super babies. I was somewhat surprised at the mixed reviews this flick’s been receiving, and the problem seems to be that everyone already had in their head what a “good Superman movie’ should be. The problem is, it can’t be  funny, serious, ponderous, action-packed, mature, or kid-friendly as they seem to want. I had an advantage, in that my only idea of a good Superman movie is “not like the other movies.” Henry Cavill seems like a good fit for the revamped Superman.

That’s not to say the script didn’t have problems. Russell Crowe‘s AI ghost was super convenient- not really a plot hole, but super convenient. How will Clark find out his true heritage, history, purpose, and be inspired by his dead father? Well, Phantom Crowe solved all those issues in an eight minute scene, and even gave Clark a suit and cape at the end. Sorta lazy writing. But hey, it’s more Russell Crowe, so how mad can you get? The film also handled Lois Lane ( Amy Adams) somewhat awkwardly. Why did Zod want her in the spaceship with Superman? Did they ever explain, or was it just to make her look a little goofy with that helmet and then break him out? But again, it’s hard to hate on Amy Adams, and any complaint for the character doesn’t stem from her performance.

 

May have a crush on Amy Adams.

May have a crush on Amy Adams.

 

Where some people started losing interest seems to be the largely CGI-generated marathon action sequences. I’m not a huge CGI fan, but c’mon, it’s a Superman film. Were they bad effects? No- not even close to the disastrous Green Lantern or even the ho-hum Hobbit work. Some successfully reached the realm of visual spectacle (the Krypton sequence in particular was gorgeous). On the other hand, these parts should leave you wanting more, not checking your watch because hasn’t this climax fight lasted longer than heartburn from Taco Bell? One reason I enjoyed most of the action parts, however, was because I got to hear Hans Zimmer go into full epic-mode with the soundtrack again.

ZOD SO ANGRY.

ZOD SO ANGRY.

 

General Zod (Michael Shannon) was effective enough, but I don’t think Heath Ledger has anything to worry about. Maybe that wasn’t a fair comparison, since Zod doesn’t have close to the complexity a villain like The Joker boasts. The whole tie-in with Superman’s father was well-used, however, and gave a bit more depth. Antje Traue as his loyal enforcer Faora-Ul was a surprisingly good villain, maybe even upstaging Michael with her creepy eyes and unassuming prowess.

 

She's going to beat you up.

She’s going to beat you up.

 

Maybe that’s the core issue for Nolan/Dark Knight fans- besides the obvious fact that he just produced, not directed the movie (instead we got Zack Snyder. Boo!), is that  Man of Steel was never intended to be The Dark Knight. Instead of a billionaire taking the law into his own hands against psychopaths, you have an alien who looks like a human flying through skyscrapers so hard that they start to collapse. What I’m saying is that by nature it’s harder to take that premise and make it relatable and relevant- yet I would argue that Man of Steel has done a great job with the first part and a good effort with the second. We feel (or should feel) the intense isolation Clark feels because he doesn’t fit in, and the raging despair when he is forced to sever his only link to Krypton and his own race. Throw in the themes of hope and sacrifice and outstanding father figures (yay Kevin Costner), and congratulations, you have the most meaningful Superman flick yet, hidden behind the layers of CGI and plot devices.

 

What if I told you aliens walked among us?

What if I told you aliens walked among us?