Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I love Ben Affleck. Wait let me rephrase that.

I love Ben Affleck. Oh, apparently that is what I meant. I am not saying Affleck is perfect. He had the bad stretch in the early 2000’s. But he is making a hell of a comeback and I have been cheering him on the whole time.

I was excited to hear he was playing Batman from the get go. Finally, a Batman from Boston. Obviously he won’t be from Boston in this film, so one dream was crushed, but I still feel he has the look and power to pull it off.

That is why I am excited to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I hope that it is better than the mediocre Man of Steel. I am also glad that the slate of DC movies is now determined for the next decade or whatever. After MoS, they initially said there would be a Man of Steel 2 like, a year later, then Justice League film to bring in everyone. I guess MoS2 turned into this, a Justice League prequel. A much smarter move.

Blue eyes
God damn, look at those dreamy blueish Batfleck eyes!

Metropolis got fucked over by Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill). You might remember it because it was a big source of frustration for many film goers at the lack of consequences. So in this film, they decided to make consequences.

Like by pissing off Batman (Ben Affleck). One of his financial buildings was destroyed in the fight, with many people who used to work for him killed and one worker (Scoot McNairy) lost his legs. His legs!

So now, two years later, Superman has been around for awhile and generally doing good. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and the rest of the newspaper seem to be on his side and write good stories. Batman has been a vigilante for a long time as well, long before Superman arrived.

But now, two years later, a large source of Krptonite has been found in the ocean, and thanks to research by LexCorp and Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg), they have found that it can damage Kryptonian skin. Ooooh. He wants to build a Superman deterrent, just in case. You know, that is something that Batman can get behind.

And then a whole lot of other things happen. Like Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)! She is here too, damn it!

Also starring Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Tao Okamoto as Luther’s assistant, Laurence Fishburne as head of the newspaper, Holly Hunter as a senator, and Callan Mulvey as a generic bad dude.

Red
Shit, does everyone have glowing eyes?

Batman v Superman, because the s in “vs” is one too many characters, is a bit over 2 and a half hours. And if you haven’t heard, there will be a directors cut with the Blu-Ray release that is about 3 hours and rated R. Yes, they made the bold decision of announcing a director’s cut before actual theatrical cut, something that is mostly unheard of. I think it was to mostly announce the R-ness, after the success of Deadpool.

With a long run time, there is of course a lot going in. Even though everyone in the world knows about Batman, they still have to give us a bit of an origin story for him. For the majority of the film, it is implied that Batman has been Batmanning for a long time, perhaps even 20 years at this point. He has a lot of history that they don’t get into, but it is something I will believe, because it implies past Joker interactions, everyone involved in Suicide Squad, and more. But if Superman has been here for almost two years, you’d think the two of them would have interacted at some point before now, given Gotham and Metropolis being across a bay from each other.

I am coming from a very pro-Batfleck back ground, but I think he knocked it out of the park as our caped crusader. And not just because of his chin. We have a lot less material to work with still, but I think he is definitely better than Nolan’s Batman (Batlan?) already. He is raw, he is angry, and he is calculating. Jeremy Irons does a wonderful Alfred, but I’d be honest, I think I liked every Alfred.

Wonder Woman was also very exciting. We really only get to see her for one fight scene, but when she appears, she commands the screen. She shows no fear, fights like a god, kicks ass, and even uses one of her trademark weapons. I wanted more Wonder Woman, hell, I wanted all of the Jusice League, but the other characters were only teased.

Cavill as Superman is more of the same from Man of Steel. Nothing too drastically different here, although his 6th sense of detecting if Lois is in trouble gets a bit ridiculous. He is a bit more of a tragic character in this film, with the Christ allegations no longer being subtle.

Lastly, in terms of characters, Eisenberg as Luther I am still mostly unsure about. A lot of the character seems to be similar to half of Eisenberg’s other characters. Smart aleck, talks fast, etc. By the end, it almost seemed like they wanted to turn him a bit into the Joker with a sort of madness behind him. Let’s call him passable.

Group
No cool glowing eyes, but hey, one group shot so I don’t show favoritism.

Back to the movie as a whole. This film is all over the place. And honestly, early on the plot feels a bit convoluted. Most of the Lois Lane plot in retrospect feels a bit pointless. Everything is supposed to connect by the end, in a shower of brilliant planning, but it feels instead like it is full of holes and unnecessarily complicated. (“Hey, that’s what convoluted means! You already said that!” – Gorgon Reviews reader complaint).

The actual Batman v Superman fight scene was really cool, but in all honesty it just seemed like it was mostly to showcase how awesome Batman was. Superman never really went “full Superhero” during it, and the ending of the fight seemed sudden and a bit tacky.

As for the actual big crazy fight scene, which I won’t spoil despite the second trailer doing just that, it was occasionally nifty, while also often being messy. I really enjoyed the fight scenes between Zod and Superman in the previous film because it did a great job of showing how intense a fight between virtual gods would be, but this one takes place in the dark, with tons of explosions and flashing lights. It is harder to follow actually what is going on, which was only a problem in the Krypton pats of the first film. Basically every fight is in the dark and at night, making it annoying. We do get to see how the different characters fight and they aren’t just all bam bam pow.

Annoyingly, Batman seems to do something in the final fight that makes no real tactical sense. In fact, it seems like it is him doing something that he was angry at Superman for doing. They try to explain it off with a line, but as it was spoken, I could only shake my head wondering how something so stupid could be included in the film.

BATFLECK
Favoritism, schmavoritism. Batfleck was clearly superior and everyone knows it.

The film doesn’t go about explaining a lot of smaller plot points. Sometimes it makes sense, as it assumes the audience is competent and knows a thing or two about these heroes. However, on Batman’s side, there are a lot of weird…dreams, moments, and references, that seem to mostly be teasing for the future and leaving me a bit perplexed at times. They tended to feel out of place and actually slow the movie down since they aren’t relevant yet.

And finally, FINALLY, the ending. Good news, it might be controversial again although not in the expected way. The whole time I was sitting there, I was confused. There were two routes it could have gone. One would have been really bold and a creative direction to take the future films, the other would be very obvious to any movie goer and thus have absolutely no impact. And yeah, it went the no impact route. The last 5-10 minutes seem to be almost cancelled out thanks to final scenes. On its own it will rustle at least dozens of jimmies.

Here is the good news. I think this film is a step in the right direction. There is a lot of good in there, just also a lot of meh to overall bring it down some. But it did still have me excited for Justice League and excited for Wonder Woman. As for Suicide Squad, the trailers still have me as mostly indifferent. This could be a fantastic film franchise and a nice foil to Marvel, it just will take a few more steps than The Avengers took to get there.

2 out of 4.

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