Movies w/ Jeff: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman - LogoI have a lot to say about this movie. A lot. But that’s because I’m slightly biased. If you know me at all, you know that I have been a fan of Superman since shortly after birth, so I was inclined to thoroughly enjoy this film long before it was even announced as being in pre-production. I realize now that this bias is not a widely held thing by your average movie goer.

Before heading to the theater, I’d been hearing rumors that early critical reviews had been slanting negative. Now, I’m not one to be swayed by the critics, but I tried to avoid reading any of those reviews so as not to be disappointed before making my own decision about Batman v. Superman. From what I understand, people have complained that the movie is not accessible to folks who are unfamiliar with DC Comics lore. After the movie was over, Jeff even mentioned that he was lost during parts of the movie and he even considers himself to be familiar with DC Comics. Internally, I scoff, because he is a self proclaimed Marvel. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think there’s room for all comic book fans in Nerdworld.

I concede that there were moments in the film that would be confusing for people who are unfamiliar with the stories that have been told in DC Comics over the years. Personally, I don’t know what it would feel like to be lost during Batman v. Superman because I’ve been familiar with DC’s history for the last 30 years. But to answer some of the questions that you will be asking… The omega carved in the earth is the symbol of Darkseid, which foreshadows the villain for the upcoming Justice League movie. Yes, that’s the Flash. If you didn’t know that was Aquaman who was swimming deep in the ocean and wielding a trident, you just weren’t ready to see this movie at all. Also, you are forgiven for not knowing that the guy who was basically a torso and head hanging on a wall was the character of Cyborg, that’s okay, he’s not one of DC’s more long-lasting popular characters. You know if you have more questions, feel free to ask because I will be happy to geek out and answer those questions for you. I will do anything to help you understand how awesome this movie really is.

Okay, let’s talk about the new characters, because we should already be familiar with Superman, Lois Lane, and Perry White thanks to Man of Steel. If you were one of those people who took to Twitter complaining that Ben Affleck would never make a good Batman, you owe that man an apology. I won’t tell you that I believe he’s the best version of Batman that’s been, but he was very good. More than that, he was brilliant as Bruce Wayne. The character he portrayed was different than the Batman/Bruce Wayne that we’ve known in the past. This Batman is aged and jaded. It’s easy to see just how his paranoia would lead him to a desire to take down Superman.

Next we have Lex Luthor. I’ll admit, I was not thrilled when it was announced that Jesse Eisenberg would be playing Superman’s arch-nemesis. I now take back any negative thoughts I had about that casting decision. Again, this is different than any Lex Luthor we’ve ever seen. Still a genius intellect, but lacking some of that charisma that we often see in the modern portrayals of the villain. But he was still very Lex Luthor in his ability to manipulate situations and convey his motivations for why he’s acting against the heroes.

Finally, I want to talk about Wonder Woman. I got excited when she first showed up in her Diana Prince persona at Lex Luthor’s party. But that excitement paled in comparison to the moment she showed up in costume as she came to the aid of Batman and Superman in the fight against Doomsday. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. She is getting her own movie next summer and I absolutely cannot wait to see how her character develops. Her introduction in Batman v. Superman left a lot of questions unanswered and I look forward to finding out the answers in 2017.

During the opening credits, I was a little concerned as I sat through Batman’s origin story for the 842nd time. We get it. His parents died. It was tragic and sad. Anyone in young Bruce Wayne’s place would take the same vow to start a vigilante war on crime. But I didn’t think we really needed to see it all again. Until the climax of Batman’s confrontation with Superman when it all made complete sense. Trust me, it makes sense to rehash it.

I really wasn’t concerned about the movie for very long. Like I said, the Batman origin didn’t pay off until late in the film, but once those credits were over, I was ready for the ride ahead. It was great to see the climactic battle from Man of Steel from Bruce Wayne’s ground level perspective. From that level, we got to see the devastation that Superman’s battle with General Zod caused. And we could easily see the spark of rage born in Bruce.

There’s so much more I could say. And maybe I will sometime. But for now, I’m gonna turn it over to Jeff, whose review, I assume, will be slightly more subdued than mine. I’m giving the movie a 4.5 out of 5. Jeff?

Marvel is King.

I’ll begin my review with that simple statement.

Aaron and I saw Batman vs. Superman (or is it the reverse?): Dawn of Justice on premier night. Admittedly, it was late – but let me just give my rating right up front and then attempt to defend it – 2/5. Yep.

If I was just rating the last 40 minutes of this 151 minute curiosity, I’d give it a 4/5 due to the action scenes and epic fight scenes – and that it was finally… over. Wow.

So, the movie begins with an unmercifully looooonnng retelling of Batman’s origin. Like that hasn’t been done in almost every. single. Batman. movie. Yesssss, DC, we knoooooow Thomas and Martha were killed, that boy Bruce falls into a cave full of bats and according to this movie apparently has mommy issues. But why was a retelling needed?

Then the movie transitions into what I’ll call 40 minutes of boredom. It literally is flashing back and forth between Bruce and Clark, in their lives – with occasional episodes of isolated herodom and how attitudes toward heroes have changed in the country. Some fear their power, and legal forces are mobilizing to condemn and/or control Superman in particular. This is as a result of his fight against General Zod in Man of Steel in which Superman stupidly throws Zod through about a dozen skyscrapers and ruins the skyline of Metropolis by keeping the fight in the city instead of luring Zod out into Kansas somewhere. (In this movie, he carries the villain into space to fight him — maybe State Farm has encouraged him to be a good neighbor and keep insurance costs down?)

There’s also strange scene in which the Superman-Jesus comparison is way overdone. Lex Luthor even joins in the spiritual monologue by commenting about how if God is all powerful, He can’t be good; if God is all good, He can’t be all powerful. Lex refers to Superman as a god often. Just… blah. And tiring.

The next 30 minutes of the movie are completely confusing. Batman shows up in a suit of armor in a trailer, hoping to buy some Kryptonite on the down-low, and he’s ambushed by an army of Amazonians and flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. I literally looked around and whispered to everyone around me, “Are you confused? What’s happening?” Everyone – even Aaron agreed that we were lost. Aaron’s best guess (which turned out to be right) “Maybe Batman is dreaming.” This part of the movie was sooooo poorly done and added nothing to the movie, that I was about done with it all at that point (remember, we’d just come through 40 minutes of boredom).

I honestly sat there thinking about leaving. If it hadn’t been for the group I was with, I may have made an exit.

Here’s my thinking. How can DC get hero movies so wrong (normally) and Marvel (normally) get them so right. There was so little — fun — in this movie. Even the few attempts at humor were indirect for the most part and elicited chuckles more than anything. Marvel knows how to reach the kid in us and make us truly laugh – both with and at its characters. Maybe I just need to self-admit that I’m a Marvel guy? The funniest part of last night? The preview to the Batman Lego movie – which looks amaaaazing.

I truly want DC movies to do well. To tell great stories. To captivate us. But this movie – apart from the epic fight scene – just didn’t do that for me. It was entertaining as a whole, but it had dynamic characters to work with and just didn’t do them… justice.

I think my thoughts can be summed up with this video:

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2 thoughts on “Movies w/ Jeff: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

  1. Pingback: The Confusing Middle’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016 – The Confusing Middle

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