Okay, you guys, this is a toughie, but we are all friends here and can be honest with each other, right? Good. Batman v Superman is difficult to review. I have seen it twice now to wrap my head around it properly (I would have seen it twice anyway though, but that's neither here nor there). The thing is that fans love it and critics hate it. In this case, I am both a fan and a critic - and that leaves us all in an odd place, but let's work with what we have, shall we?
I will kick off by saying that I think BvS (as the cool kids call it) is a really fun movie to go to see if you love amazing visuals, great action sequences, Batman, a pinch of Wonder Woman and just an all-round nice action flick. If you like that stuff, BvS is the movie for you and Zack Snyder has got you covered. If you like DC comic books and don’t mind plots that are haphazardly tied together you will also still have somewhat of a good time because the movie is packed to the brim with comic book Easter eggs. If you are a fan of coherent stories, though, you will be left out in the cold rain with an umbrella nowhere in sight. The whole thing that’s wrong with BvS is the Dawn of Justice subtitle.
The movie is simply too ambitious and tries to do what Marvel did in five movies leading up to The Avengers in one movie (two movies with Man of Steel, I guess), which was just never going to work out. Marvel is totally kicking ass with its cinematic universe and I understand that DC wants to catch up as quickly as possible, but the movie suffers a lot for it. In a crazy way, though, DC did do what they set out to do and you will want to see the Justice League movies and the other individual superhero movies DC has planned after watching BvS. They killed it at the box office, so they are pretty set for making the DC cinematic universe a big thing and I hope they succeed.
The trailers give away pretty much most of the plot so I won’t dwell on that since it will just ruin the few surprises the movie does have. What I will say, though, is that BvS feels like at least four separate movies happening at once - and if you aren’t that familiar with DC’s characters and stories some of them will make no sense to you. There’s a sequence that I love that references a really big Justice League villain, but it has nothing to do with the immediate storyline at all and they could have shown it to us in another movie. Then there’s the manner in which they introduce the other Justice League characters, which was just sloppy. BvS is nowhere near the mess that the Fantastic 4 movie was, but feels like it also suffered a lot from the postproduction editing process. There will an R-rated Blu-ray/DVD release later in the year with 30 minutes of added footage and maybe that will help join together scenes that feel disjointed.
The best Batman to date
Okay, the really great things about this movie. The very first thing is Batfleck! Can you remember how worried we all were when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman? Those sad Batman memes were everywhere. I am eating humble pie and enjoying it because Ben Affleck is the best Batman to date! He plays both the Bruce Wayne and Batman characters to perfection. I love how physically imposing and grim he is. This is straight up Frank Miller Batman. Jeremy Irons comes to the party as Alfred and does a great job being the somewhat snarky butler. Both he and Bruce Wayne are older and their relationship shows that they have been together for a long time in the way that they banter. Zack Snyder should make a solo Batman movie, he is just great at the dark, broody stuff that makes up Batman as a character. Gal Gadot is just kickass cool as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. I really wish she had more time on screen, but every second she was it was fun and I am looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie. I am also quite happy with Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. It takes a bit of getting used to but it works.
Superman’s story was rather tedious on the other hand. Every time he and Lois were on screen I just wished they would show us more Batman, Wonder Woman or Lex Luthor. The weird thing is that Henry Cavill makes a great Clark Kent/Superman and Amy Adams is also great in her role as Lois Lane. The problem is more the way in which the characters are written. There is hope (tried to make a joke with whole symbol on Superman’s chest standing for hope but it doesn’t work) though as one of the big surprises in the movie involves Superman and that was expertly handled.
A decent movie
Go out and give BvS a watch. It’s a decent movie with many problems, but a movie you can still enjoy - and it does the job of laying the groundwork for DC’s next endeavours. It looks like it was meant to be a visionary movie and maybe the Blu-ray/DVD release with the deleted material will help reconcile that vision. For now, BvS may not be the movie we deserve, but it’s the movie we need to get to the good stuff going forward.
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