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**Warning: Perhaps mild spoilers, but not really**
After three years (that felt more like thirty years to be honest), Warner Bros. latest DC disasterpiece, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is finally in theaters. Well, at least it will be in a few days. I managed to get invited to a special sneak preview, and after seeing it I’m just kind of perplexed. I’m really not sure what I just watched. It was half awful, half amazing. It was full of some of the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen in a comic book movie. It is simultaneously over and under-written. One thing is for sure, however: Batman v Superman really doubles down on the doom and gloom – and I highly doubt this film is going to change anyone’s minds about the direction of the DC “cinematic universe.”
I’m not one of these people who hates on DC for trying to accomplish what Marvel does with their films. I actually dislike most of the Marvel because they’re such generic pieces of shit. There’s barely an ounce of creativity in those sterile movies (save for Guardians of the Galaxy, which was such a weird concept I’m wagering Marvel didn’t attempt to reign it in because they assumed it would flop). I like living in a world where DC movies are significantly different from Marvel films. I just wish DC’s movies were better, particularly this one. It’s true that I liked Man of Steel (I actually think I like it significantly more than BvS at this point though that could change), but it is largely disliked and even hated by a significant portion of the Internet.
As much as that shouldn’t matter, it does. Internet fanboys make up a significant portion of the noise online, unfortunately. Again, it pains me but this must be taken into consideration. BvS isn’t going to appeal to these people because BvS is essentially everything they hated about MoS amplified tenfold. There’s wanton destruction (this time with shoe-horned in lines about people getting to safety!), loud noises, explosions, half-developed plot ideas, crazy unrelated-able science stuff, and awful writing permeating through BvS. The film also manages to make Batman, the dourest of dour characters, somehow even more cynical, dour, and humorless. I’m not sure Batman has a single fun moment in this entire picture.
On the other hand, there’s Superman, and he’s handled significantly better in this movie than he was in MoS. Superman, now seen as a godlike figure to some and as a tyrant to others following the Metropolis disaster, is surprisingly the most interesting character in the film. The little moments where Superman saves people from floods and burning buildings are striking, beautiful, and moving. Hans Zimmer’s score swells in the background, Zack Snyder’s direction works well, and Henry Cavill nails Superman in these moments. He also looks fantastic as Superman. Unfortunately, he’s awful at being Clark Kent. He’s awkward in all the wrong ways. He looks like he’s never spoken to another human being in his entire life. His romance with Lois Lane is completely unbelievable.
Speaking of Lois, Adams is fine in the role once again. Other supporting characters, like Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and newcomer to the film series Gal Godot are all fine in their roles. I expected Godot to shine a bit more as Diana Prince, but her role is really much more of an extended cameo. The weirdest bit of casting was in Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander “Lex” Luthor. I expected Eisenberg to essentially ramp up his Mark Zuckerberg shtick, but he doesn’t do this. What he does is actually ramp the crazy up to 11, almost to the point of being completely and utterly ridiculous. I was a huge fan of casting Eisenberg as Luthor and I championed it time and time again. But I don’t think it works. He looks like he’s in a completely different movie.
Batman v Superman is an almost humorless film. The script is awful, especially for the first half of the film. BvS doesn’t know what it wants to be entirely. It jumps back and forth between scenes of Superman or Batman doing random stuff with little rhyme or reason. It’s almost 45 minutes before any semblance of a plot starts to kick in. The film finds it necessary to go back to climax of Man of Steel in order to give Batman motivation, but it’s almost completely unnecessary. The film would have functioned without it. There’s also an unusual amount of random, unnecessary violence permeating the film, as well as totally incomprehensible flashbacks and dream sequences. Like I said, the script is kind of a mess.
Snyder is going to get blamed for the film’s faults, which isn’t really fair. He’s a fine action director. I know it’s as cool to bash on him as it is Michael Bay, but Snyder is a talented storyteller and I honestly think he does the best he can with such as garbage script. If anything, I appreciate just how much Snyder seems to love this universe, and his attention to detail is pretty good. There are little things, like Diana Prince investigating other “meta humans” that works. The film, however, is hyper-violent and filled with unnecessary death. I’m not certain that so many people needed to be either shot to death or killed in fiery explosions.
Even as a MoS apologist, I am sitting her finding it difficult to recommend Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I like about half of the film, particularly the moments with Superman. But Batman is totally botched here. I don’t necessarily think it’s Affleck’s fault either. I can’t see Christian Bale, one of my favorite actors, turning this into Oscar winning material either. The main fault of the film is that it lacks identity. Does it want to be a team-up movie like The Avengers, a gritty crime drama like Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy of films, or a hyper-violent, Snyder-esque action film a la 300 or Watchmen? It tries to be all three, and thus doesn’t quite stick the landing. I can’t possibly see this film winning over the naysayers and I have no idea what’s going to happen to Warner Bros.’ long-term plans for a DC “film universe.”