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Batman V. Superman isn't exactly a knockout; more of a split decision...

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****** SPOILERS ALL OVER THE PLACE! ******

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OK, I just saw "Batman V Superman" and while it had many flaws (most of which I anticipated) I have to say... *surprise * ... I didn't entirely hate it, either (!). That was something I didn't really expect. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say I enjoyed it more than "Man Of Steel." That's not high praise exactly; MOS was a deeply flawed movie, but BVS kind of redeemed it a little bit. Not entirely, but a little bit.

First, one thing is clear; this is NOT a Superman movie. This is a Batman movie guest-starring Superman (for better or worse; that's simply how it is). And Ben Affleck is an AMAZING Bruce Wayne/Batman. He is, for me, the gravitational center of the whole deal. In fact, I'd even say that I liked his Bruce Wayne/Batman a bit better than Christian Bale's. I only wish Affleck had a standalone Batman movie of his own; it's too bad he had to share the limelight when he was (easily) the most interesting single element of the movie. I still think the Dark Knight trilogy is the apex of cinematic DC, but if Affleck had done it first? I think he would've outdone Bale. Just saying...

Cavill's Superman remains something of a joyless blank slate, and it's getting a bit old now. Affleck's layered, complex Wayne simply blows him right off the screen. I don't fault the actor Henry Cavill; I fault a lackluster role that is underwritten and doesn't really allow much dimension.

Anyway, it's simpler if I just break it into things I like and dislike; so...

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT BvS:

* Affleck's Bruce Wayne/Batman. See: above.

* Wonder Woman. Not so much the actress (Gal Gadot was a bit lackluster IMO), but as a proof-of-concept. Her cool theme, enhanced strength/powers and overall bad assery proved that the character need not be a joke on the big screen. I only wish it were a stronger actress in the role... a shame! They got everything else about her SO RIGHT.

* Jeremy Irons' Alfred Pennywise. Lacking some of the warmth & earthiness of Michael Caine's, but still very game. I just miss Caine's working-class cockney, but apples and oranges.

* New Batsuit (including the walking-on-the-surface-of-Venus looking Superman buster version) and overall look of the new Bat-tech. The new Batmobile was an improvement on the cruder tumbler of the previous DK trilogy. Even the new Batcave was a nice amalgam of modern and gothic. Great production design on all of it.

* Aquaman's cameo (that was kind of cool; and NOBODY laughed...).

* The level-playing field fight between the titular characters. It was a lot more fun than I expected. I realize the fight is wrongheaded (Batman doesn't realize Superman isn't like his Kryptonian brethren, and Superman is still a work-in-progress), but I have to admit; I enjoyed it. I like the idea of a human challenging Superman and kind of succeeding a bit. Is it wrong of me that I got a tiny thrill when mere 'mortal' Batman was able to pummel the s#!t out of Superman for awhile? Kind of like when the school science geek finally lands a punch on the school jock...:giggle:

* Batman doing actual, real, honest-to-goodness DETECTIVE work (!). Haven't seen this in awhile; not even in the superlative Dark Knight trilogy. Refreshing.

* Lois Lane. Cleaned up her potty mouth from the previous movie. Seemed more like a real journalist in this movie. Amy Adams was more likable this time around (and that bathtub scene... hubba hubba!). Lois was a teensy bit more integral to the story this time, and that was cool to see.

* Neil deGrasse Tyson's cameo... because he's NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, that's why. I've met him once, and have seen him onstage. Total man-crush of mine, he is. His presence in this otherwise hard-to-swallow movie lent a tiny bit of real-world credence to all the CGI artifice and physics defying shenanigans. This is the ONLY part of the movie that I wish were longer.

* The fact that the collateral damage of MOS was NOT ignored or poo-pooed. There were REAL people who were killed in that little would-be Kryptonian civil war, and the fact that one of them got away would leave a LOT of people in the 'real' world very uneasy. There are many in the US who still get nervous when someone wears a hijab on an airplane after 9/11. One can only imagine how having a flying, omnipotent extraterrestrial living among us would go over. I admit, it's a shame we don't live in a culture that would embrace such a being, but well, we don't; until....

* .... Superman FINALLY proves himself in an act of utter self-sacrifice this time! He was not quite Superman yet in the previous movie; and even a reluctant hero for most of this movie (I agree with online criticisms that he acted like saving people was more of dull chore). But by taking the fight with Doomsday into space (as long as he could, anyway) and by 'dying' in battle (yeah, right... like he's really dead) Superman finally became Superman. His true strength wasn't in his powers or abilities; it was in his capacity for self-sacrifice (which wasn't previously possible when he wasn't able to truly be hurt). Now, he has won the trust of the world by 'dying' in defeating Doomsday and sacrificing himself wholly for his adopted planet (and not some Kryptonian civil war).
The next movie (when he returns from the 'dead') should have him firing on all thrusters now.



THINGS I DIDN'T EXACTLY LOVE ABOUT BvS:

* The length!! Jeez-Louise, BvS is only a few minutes shy of being a damn Lord of the Rings movie. They could've lopped off a half hour (easily) and it would've gone from a C to a B movie. Seriously; the length was needlessly protracted. They could've removed a couple of minor subplots (and a half-hour in running time) and the movie would've been so much leaner and meaner. I feel like there is a better movie somewhere; hiding under all of that excessive CGI-laden flab. Oh and Zack Snyder? They have these people nowadays who can actually cut and shape your movies... they're called 'editors'; hire one, OK?

* Enough with the rain, mud and storms. Could we ever have a sunny day in Gotham or Metropolis (which, oddly, are suddenly across the river from each other?!?). Felt like I was watching 1998's Godzilla...

* Gal Gadot. Wonder Woman had a great proof-of-concept in this movie; it successfully demonstrated that she could be taken seriously on the big screen. All the more reason why it's a bit heartbreaking that the actress playing her acted more like a model than an actress. They were this > [ ] close....

* The action wasn't quite as 'armageddon porn'-ish as MOS, but it was still a hyper-pixelated bombardment that just seemed to go on forever. On the plus side? The fight scene between Supes and Batman had a lot more impact than the consequence-free, all-CGI fights between Kryptonian demigods in MOS.

* Doomsday was just a boring turd-monster. Granted, he served an important plot-point (uniting the good guys; allowing Superman to sacrifice himself for his adopted planet), but it was an uninspired design (and I don't give a rat's posterior if that's 'how he looks in the comics'; this is a movie, not a comic book... he should've looked more visually interesting).

* Plot holes all over the place. I won't enumerate them now, but I counted quite a few while I was watching (and I wasn't trying, either...)

* My biggest beef of the WHOLE movie: Jesse Eisenberg's Joker---er, Riddle--er, Lex Luthor (Jr.). Biggest fail of the entire movie (and there were many fails to choose from). First off, he wasn't playing Lex Luthor at all; he was playing Batman's Joker or Riddler. But with money. And a science degree. But the spastic, Marc Zuckerberg-isms Eisenberg brought to bear on "The Social Network" were totally inappropriate for Lex Luthor. I don't mind them doing Lex as a young, silver-spooned billionaire-type, but did they have to make him such an annoying a$$ hat? Lex Luthor is supposed to be cooler than the room, not a spastic little twit. He's intelligent, patient and cunning; not a bouncing-off-the-walls kid who forgot his ritalin that morning.

I really, really, really missed the cool menace of Kevin Spacey (still my favorite onscreen Lex Luthor). He would've eaten this little creep for breakfast...



I'm pretty sure I'll come up with more later on, but I'm still mentally collating all of what I've seen/digested.

Long story short; it's a C or B minus movie at best and nothing more. I liked it a little more than the meandering and somewhat duller MOS, and I think (IMO) most of that new likability to Affleck's Batman (who really NEEDS his own Batman solo movie). Luckily, I only paid the matinee price and I didn't shell out for 3D or IMAX, but it was still more than OK as presented. In 3D, and at 2.5 hours, it probably would've just given me a big headache.

I also strongly feel (as said above) that if they chopped off a half hour, it would've been so much more compelling and lean. Missed opportunity IMO. But since it's making a gazillion dollars and counting? I'm pretty sure no one connected with this movie would give two farts and a pitcher of "granny's peach tea" for my opinion... ;)

1 Comments On This Entry

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p0is0n0us Icon

02 April 2016 - 06:07 PM
I just saw the movie and agree that we caught the same things. Overall I went in to the movie with zero expectations and enjoyed the movie as a cheesy popcorn movie. You could see that ZS wanted to make a Batman movie but had to shoehorn in Superman and Wonder Woman.
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