Monday, May 9, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

So, I actually wrote this review right after Batman v Superman was released and quickly became to busy to remember to post it. Now, I've remembered, and you get to recall your feelings toward this film. 

Isn't that nice?!?

Disaster of the year?... Possibly. Disaster of the decade?... Probably. 

Batman is my favorite superhero (by a large margin), and I truly adore the Nolan-directed Dark Knight trilogy, which deserves as much praise as it can possibly receive, critical or otherwise. Nolan changed all superhero movies... forever! Even Marvel wants to be a little bit darker! But, they will never be able to touch the baddies of Nolan's Bat-universe. Regardless, there was no bone in body that expected Batman v Superman to even come close to Nolan's films. Ben Affleck could never top Christian Bale. Henry Cavill could never get me interested in Superman. And, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? I mean, what's up with that? 

First and foremost, let me say that Zack Snyder's ridiculous, pre-film request to avoid spoilers was absolutely unnecessary. Did he think Batman v Superman was going to be discussed like Star Wars or something? I don't understand that? Anyway, I'm going to spoil a few things, in this section. So, proceed with caution...

For a film that I thought would be an absolute disaster, I was overwhelmingly surprised by how much I enjoyed watching everything unfold. Sure, it was simple and dumb, at times, and there were several huge, gaping holes in the story. But, overall, it was a lot of fun and truly intrigued me, with regard to how Batman and Superman would "v" one another. And, don't worry, I wasn't in a super critic-friendly mood. As soon as I saw Thomas and Martha Wayne pop up for yet another rendition of their untimely deaths, I was ready to run screaming.

Ultimately, my favorite thing about the film was how Affleck's Batman already had a history and seemed to have the same darkness and coolness that we came to know and love with Bale's Batman, without us having to endure the origin story. And, while it is certainly tough to sit through Henry Cavill playing any character, Superman's own crises were well-founded, and the scene with Superman arriving at the Capitol Building was pretty awesome, even if the outcome was terribly telegraphed.

The biggest flaw in the film was the disastrous Martha Kent, played by Diane Lane. First, in a film filled with 300 cameos, we truly could have done without Martha Kent. Second, why is Superman able to sweep in from some random, hallucinatory mountaintop and rescue Lois Lane, but he can't take the time to rescue his mother from the back alley of her diner? Third, and most ridiculous, what kind of superhero hears his dead mother's name, and immediately forgets every piece of vengeance in his heart, and decides to follow the god of Superman to the ends of the earth? Take Martha Kent out of this film, and everything improves--10 times over. The second biggest flaw in this film was the blatantly unnecessary plugs for the Justice League characters that were absent from this film. Nobody cares about Aquaman or Cyborg, and The Flash already had a cameo. So, why do you need to have some secret file with convenient video evidence that these people exist? A: YOU DON'T.

However, I will defend one character that has been questioned since the first trailer for Batman v Superman was released--Lex Luthor. There is one reason, and one reason only, that The Dark Knight is considered the best of the Nolan-directed Batfilms... The Joker. And, when the Joker has already been delegated to another DC film and there is no hope of ever reaching Heath Ledger's villainous performance, what is Zack Snyder supposed to do? Well, this one is easy. You just turn Lex Luthor into a younger, makeup-less joker and see what happens. But, little did Snyder know that viewers would be attached to the Lex Luthor of old, even if they hadn't considered the character in 20 years. I've yet to understand why people think that a different version of Lex Luthor is automatically a bad version of Lex Luthor. There were things about the character that I didn't enjoy, particularly the most dramatic hair-shaving sequence this side of Les Mis. But, ultimately, he was just meant to move the plot along and bring Batman and Superman together, and even Lex Luthor didn't expect that a woman's NAME would cause Batman to rethink his entire life.

If it wasn't so easy to find flaws within the film's attempt to create drama and establish a broader DC universe, more people would be open to seeing just how fun Batman v Superman really was. Obviously, that is a sad excuse to make for any film, but I truly believe that people should ignore the critics on this one, go watch the movie, and have a good time! It was an easy watch with plenty of action and solid characters. Sure, they were characters that we already knew, but, if I had a dollar for every time that I've had to re-imagine Spiderman, I would at least be able to buy my ticket to Captain America v Iron Man. In a world where The Avengers are a bunch of has-beens, Batman v Superman is a breath of fresh darkness, and I look forward to what comes next. I give Batman v Superman 3.14 out of 5 stars