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Batman v Superman

It’s a timeless argument that we all have become accustomed to: which of the two titans would win in a fight to the death? We’ll never truly have an answer, since Batman and Superman are very rarely pitted against one another in comics, but a movie based around a conflict between them? On not just a physical but moral way? That seems awesome, right?

It may be unprofessional to say this, but I’ve been scared shitless. Batman v Superman has been scaring me because it was actually happening, and I have just wanted to enjoy the movie. I wanted nothing in the world more than to just enjoy DC movies and I wanted to do it with the same intensity of love I have for the comics. No matter how you spin it, Man of Steel is a flawed movie, and I really liked it for what it was despite those issues. And even though I share a love for the Nolan-Batman trilogy, I was somewhat relieved with the conclusion of The Dark Knight Rises as I was hoping for a real, comic book Batman, since it had never been actually done before.

So now Batman and Superman are destined to clash in the movie that was always tried to have been made, but never could be. And Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen, 300, and Man of Steel was given the reins to it. It’s no secret by now the controversy surrounding this movie: essentially every aspect except Jeremy Irons as Alfred has been scrutinized intensely. Some of it justified, some of it less so, like Ben Affleck. But here we are, it’s happening and we can see it.

This movie could not be more polarizing if it even tried. Good God, the reviews for this are all over the place. Ask a critic and they tear it a new one. Ask a fan and they love it. The Rotten Tomatoes score right now as I’m writing this is  30%/77%. What the hell is going on with this movie to begin with? I have never, ever seen anything like this, especially since it came form the beginning of its announcement, right with Ben Affleck being cast as Batman.

BatmanSo that forced me having to go into this movie in a state of mind I’ve never entered a movie as: neutral. There’s always that pre-cognitive notion to formulate opinions before seeing the movie, and generally you go see a movie because you want to. I have been shown films and been pleasantly surprised by them, but of all of them, one starring Batman, Superman, AND Wonder Woman, I was going in neutral?

I’ve done enough talking about the build up to this point, but let me spell this out for you: This is just a movie, and it is also a unique movie unto itself. It follows in vein of Man of Steel, but with a darker tone due to the nature of Batman being in the film. It’s most certainly not Man of Steel, though, and it’s definitely not The Dark Knight, The Avengers, or any other movie. You really can’t liken it to anything, in a sense: it’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, for better and for worse.

Much like every other review you will read, Ben Affleck delivers as the Caped Crusader. My pleas have been answered and this is the Batman in appearance and style that I’ve wanted all along. It’s only a matter of time before we see him move forward with his mythos and I cannot wait to see what take the filmmakers eventually go with, because he was without a doubt convincing as hell to see. And to go with him is Jeremy Irons as Alfred, who fit the role nicely. He had the partnership you wanted between him and Bruce and it made it all the more believable that Batman needed him, unlike in the Nolan films where he was there for moral support. This is an Alfred that I needed and wanted without even realizing it, unlike Batman.
SupermanI have to give Henry Cavill some props, too. When he speaks and moves, I look at him and realize that this guy is a good Superman. If there is anything wooden about him in scenes, it’s clearly not his fault: he’s not being directed correctly. More on that later, but Cavill, I still love you, dude. Keep it up.

Jesse Eisenberg is one of such who I have to argue is currently in the makings of as a character. Throughout the movie, his plans are neatly laid out and he does a good job making it clear he’s a sick and twisted guy, but very eccentric and anti-Social Network. The crazy-Luthor card is not particular to my taste, but how things play out for his character through the movie, I am very interested to see where his character ends up going. That’s if his character ends up going anywhere.

The story itself is very standard and plays out much like we all thought it was going to. There’s events that transpire and how they unfold are somewhat foreseeable just by who is involved in the cast, so the tension rises early in the film, but it sort of stays there throughout. When tension stays at the level it rises to, though, it tends to lose the strained feeling in the long run. And judging by how long this movie is, that strain loses its effect and kinda just stays elevated in thin air without any sign of it going anywhere.

Wonder woman is a babeRegardless, though, some particular things happen in this movie that lead up to the titular confrontation between Batman and Superman and they do the very necessary and escalate things further. To be honest, I was more than surprised watching a certain event unfold, and until it happened, I didn’t get it right away. A very well done and shocking scene, probably one of my favorites in a superhero movie overall.

Visually, as well, this movie is great to look at. In particular, that ending fight between the Trinity and Doomsday is amazing to watch and has so much that I love about a fight. Simply put, you’ll be watching this sequence on Youtube over and over. (Or at least I will, who knows?) The Trinity really gets time to shine individually here, with each of them taking the more typical approach for their style: Wonder Woman is brutal and holds nothing back in the fight, Superman is constantly matching himself up against Doomsday, and Batman takes things from afar and among the debris, knowing he’s physically outmatched. It’s nicely done and sets a new standard for superhero movie combat. Marvel should be watching these sequences and taking extensive notes.

Wonder WomanGal Gadot, by the way, is a very solid and easy to digest Wonder Woman. But the downside is that her actions throughout the film don’t affect the plot and is just there to escalate the Justice League movie planned for next year. It’s true, in all honesty, but while I loved what she did on screen and every moment with her, it was almost unnecessary having her walk in and out of scenes. Had they thought about it more extensively, fitting her into the script could have been handled more effectively.

That essentially segues into the problems of the movie: It’s not overstuffed, in my opinion, but the Justice League tie-ins to the greater DC universe definitely feel a little forced. They’re cameos, but it either feels tacked on or gives the implication scenes were cut that shouldn’t have been left out. While the movie is structured well (Admittedly, the two and a half hour run time flew by for me) there were moments build anything at all. You could have simply announced Justice League was after this one and we would have accepted it. The cameos added nothing for the film as a whole and was just a matter of “Okay, so yeah, that’s what we were waiting for. Cool, I guess.”Batman 2

The editing, by the way, is atrocious. I have never, ever made this complaint about a movie, but it is edited in such a way that it doesn’t help with the prolonged tension that’s prevalent in the movie. By the time things start to go down in the last hour or so, scenes have just come and gone so that characters can go from point A to B.

The direction by Zack Snyder severely lacked in many scenes, as well. As noted, Henry Cavill is a solid actor. Not great, but the guy gets the job done and I like him as Supes. Unfortunately in scenes where he is emotional, he always reacts in the same, monotone way like he knows what to do, even though the words he’s saying are clearly conflicted. Then Lois or Mama Kent come along and give him the same kind of advice trying to be dramatic and comfort him. But it’s in the same delivery as well, and takes away from their character, essentially leading to one of their downfalls.

And that “one” in particular is Lois Lane. Seriously, guys… what the hell happened here? I leaned over to my friend and I asked “How is she this stupid?” There is seriously something wrong with how Lois was written in this movie, and it’s like her snark was never present to begin with. It’s stressful in a way, too, to watch her just generally suck by making poor decisions to begin with, only to have to clean up after herself right after. By the end of the movie, you’ll be saying “THAT scene, right? She was dumb in that scene.”Trinity

The biggest gaping flaw? Batman has a body count. Legitimately, too. I’m not talking “Whoops! That car blew up!” This is a legit Batman who does it throughout the movie. I honestly just don’t know what the reasoning is behind the increased senselessness, but if there is one thing wrong with Batfleck, it’s definitely that you cannot gloss over the fact that he does, in fact, kill people.

So, yeah, there’s problems with this movie. And they are there, they are very real and they are forever going to be present. This isn’t like Man of Steel where a good deal of the problems could be rectified by another movie (They are, in a way, by this) but for what works in this movie, I enjoyed my time. The hype certainly took its toll on it, but just being able to enjoy this movie as it was definitely made things a little easier. I’d argue the press is too focused on what’s wrong with the movie or the fact that it’s not The Avengers or The Dark Knight, but then again I will also argue that the fans are overhyping it.

Go in expecting a movie with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. There’s flaws, yes, and you will notice them but there are things in there that you’ll enjoy and there are moments in this film we’ll be talking about for years to come. Especially into next year with Wonder Woman and Justice League and later this year with Suicide Squad, we’ll be able to see where all of this is going. Batman v Superman may not be the monstrous titan of a film we have hoped and wanted it to be, but a flawed film that I enjoyed to a degree. The flaws made it tough, but what’s good in the movie is worth enjoying.

One Response to “Batman v Superman Review *Spoiler Free*”

    March 25th, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Who ever told Jesse Eisenberg that playing Luthor like a loon was the way to go should immediately be fired. I watched this movie yesterday, and people were saying he was trying to channel his version of The Joker.

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