March 29, 2016

Batman vs. Superman: Ignore the haters, enjoy the film

Due to my spring break I was able to actually get out and enjoy a must-see comics film on its opening weekend. I was a bit wary, natch, as many reviews had trashed the film, but I kept a "must see for myself" attitude as many I know who know comics said the film was rather good.

To be sure, there are some definite weak spots, but as a whole the film is enjoyable.

THE GOOD:
--Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Yeah, I can't quite believe it either, but honestly, Affleck is the BEST Batman we've seen. Yes, better than Christian Bale. However, Ben is only slightly better than Adam West. (I'M JOKING!) I'm serious, here. Affleck was sensational.

--Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Not only is she beyond gorgeous, during the climactic battle scene she showed the zeal for combat that we've come to associate with the Amazonian.

--Nods to comics stories. I'm not nearly as versed on DC as I am Marvel; however, the obvious nods to the alternate reality tale Injustice were very well done. And need I mention The Dark Knight Returns?

--Tie-in to Man of Steel. The first cinematic DC Universe meld was executed very well. The opening montage with Bruce Wayne zipping through a battered Metropolis during Superman and Zod's epic confrontation in MoS was almost perfection (aside from Wayne having to tell a subordinate to vacate his building which is almost right next to the Kryptonian world engine leveling the city!! WTF?).

THE SO-SO:
--The Supes-Lois Lane love affair.
Good idea, but needed more fleshing out. Given the length of the film, what's the deal? I'm also not keen on Amy Adams as Lois -- it reminds me of the looks mismatch between Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder. Almost.

--Doomsday. A villain this big deserves more development and attention. Plus, his first incarnation looks like a huge pile of shit.

--Why is Wonder Woman around? Are we really supposed to buy that she's trying to get that photograph back from Luthor? Because that's all we were really fed, given her response(s) to Bruce Wayne. But I don't mind much -- again, Gadot is breathtakingly gorgeous!

--Sneak peeks at upcoming Justice League members. They seemed quite forced: Wonder Woman checking out each (video) file that Batman sent her? Yeah, maybe. But it came off as rather cheesy.

THE BAD:
--Lex Luthor.
Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal is really the only -- but significant -- downside of the flick, in my opinion. It's as if he's trying to be the Joker. Luthor is a cut-throat, amoral (thanks, Duff!) businessman, not a raving lunatic, but that's how Eisenberg plays him. And it's awful.

The film is long, yes, but it pretty much needs all that time to adequately establish everything without coming off as rushed (aside from the Doomsday plot). Some of the flashback and dream sequences perhaps could have been edited down (did we really need that additional -- and repeated -- young Bruce Wayne scene?), but as a whole they worked.

I read one review that compared (negatively) the "busyness" of the film to Spider-Man 3. I disagree. Outside of the time needed for a better development of Doomsday, BvS is far superior.

Be sure to check out Doug Ernst's review as well.

Posted by Hube at March 29, 2016 11:20 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I was sitting in the theater on the first Friday with my twins and my grandson, fifteen seconds away from the previews starting, when my phone buzzed to tell me my wife had had a biking accident that we eventually learned broke three bones in her wrist. So I did not get to see it for another week. (And, damn, those first tix were for Imax 3-D).

But here's my take:

1) The length did not bother me in itself--you're right about needing that for plot purposes, but if you are going to do such a long film, don't torture me with those grinding slow motion "drama" shots like how long it takes young Bruce to fall into the hole, or the shell taking forever to fall out of the breech of the gun at Superman's funeral. Length was fine; pacing could have been better.

2) Ben Affleck was a great Batman, Gadot was a glorious Wonder Woman, and Superman himself was very, very good. That said, Lois Lane and Perry White were poorly cast and in general detracted.

3) Exactly my thought about Luthor--Eisenberg was going for Heath Ledger or something, and it clanged all over the film. The whole point of Lex Luthor is cool, rational, intellectual evil; this was the Joker with a factory.

4) One of the strengths of the film was understanding that Superman could be out-thought. Having so many super powers made life mentally easy--what's the point of worrying about tactics when you can just walk through any ambush? So I loved that both Luthor and Batman consistently out thought Supes throughout the movie.

5) Wonder Woman looking through the pics of Flash, etc., was cheesy, but God I did love that old photo of WW.

6) Gratuitous useless shots that should have been edited: the montage of Batman pumping iron to be able to wear the suit!? Gimme a break.

7) My favorite Easter Egg--that Holly Hunter played a DEMOCRATIC senator from Kentucky. (I'm just pissed that they killed her because I think she's got one of the sexiest voices in the business.)

Posted by: Steve Newton at April 2, 2016 03:05 PM

It was a C movie at best. The trailer for Cap was more exciting. I had the feeling going in the movie was going to be dark in both the way it was shot and the overall feeling.

Affleck was ok as Batman but he was too big. Ive always believed Bruce Wayne to be suave and debonair. When he put on a three piece suit he looked like one of Luca Brasci's henchmen. His performance was good overall.

Lex Luthor was WAY over the top. Again, I thought he was an evil genius. Not a completely obvious psychopath.

I liked WW. She was pretty good.

Overall, the holes in the plot were big enough to drive the budget of the movie through.

Are the DC comics movies and ABC broadcasting owned by the same people? If so it would have been neat to see the kid who plays Bruce on GOTHAM play the young Bruce in the movie.

Posted by: Arthur at April 4, 2016 09:28 AM

One other thing. How the hell are they going to make an Aquaman movie? That scene with him was terrible. How can you have a guy who supposedly lives underwater not look completely uncomfortable underwater? You could tell he was holding his breath and was having trouble keeping his eyes open

Posted by: Arthur at April 4, 2016 10:22 AM

To maybe add some context to the portrayal of Luthor - I'd say the full-on craziness didn't start until he tried to absorb "the knowledge of 100,000 worlds" (or whatever the Kryptonian computer said). Driven temporarily mad by information overload/alien concepts, he'll be back.

Just a hunch.

Posted by: Brud Lee at April 12, 2016 01:21 PM

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