March 27 2016
Batman v Superman Review – The enemy is the audience
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be.
It was far, far worse.
Since I am not a professional movie reviewer, I plan on going into spoiler filled details of why I had issues with BvS. For those wishing to avoid those, just know that I do not have very good things to say about this movie and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Now would be the time for the spoilerphobes to leave.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room: Ben Affleck is a good Batman. I had my doubts when he was cast, but I could easily see myself watching him in a solo Batman movie with no issues.
Gal Gadot makes a great Wonder Woman and I look forward to her solo movie.
Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander Luthor Jr. – which they go to great pains to stress – was… horrible. I honestly don’t blame him, this is what Zack Snyder was looking for, and he got it, but it was a horrible direction to take the character. Half the time you just thought he had ADHD.
Henry Cavill is not a good actor. I’m sorry, he’s just not, and as Superman he leaves me cold. I don’t buy him in the role and that’s been true since Man of Steel.
So, what were the plot and filmmaking specific issues? Where do you even begin.
- Lex talked with the senator because he needs an import license for the Kryptonite he found. This honestly sets a ton of the film’s events in motion. Are we to seriously believe Lex wouldn’t just throw it on a private plane and sneak it into the country?
- During the big fight with Doomsday we are twice told the fight is happening late at night so hardly anyone is around and it then moves to an unpopulated island. We get it Snyder, you don’t want people complaining again about all of the destruction.
- Gotham and Metropolis are separated by only a bay? You can see the Bat Signal from Metropolis. So… in the 18 months Superman has been active these two have never run into each other? He has never checked out a Bat Signal issue to see if he could be of help? Sure, okay. He’ll fly to Mexico to rescue a woman from a burning factory, but anything across the bay is just too much trouble.
- Doomsday looks like he was rendered with the Video Toaster software used to make Babylon 5.
- Bruce’s dream of the future is… oddly specific. He not only see’s signs of Darkseid, but his Parademons as well? This could be explained away by the Flash’s time travel appearance at the end of that sequence, but still odd.
- We’re told it has been 18 months sine the battle with Zod. Metropolis is completely rebuilt with no signs of construction. A memorial has been built to the dead and a statue sculpted of Superman. Yeah… that fits with reality.
- How in the world did Lex learn Superman’s secret identity? He just seems to know it when he needs to.
- During the Capital bombing scene, with everyone so quick to blame Superman for everything as of late, how is he never suspected of being responsible? I mean, they blame him for the deaths in Africa when those people were clearly shot and bombed, but explosion at Congress? Nope, not so much as a suggestion.
- Mere days after Congress had held hearings about how Superman is dangerous, and after yet another big fight, they hold a soldier’s funeral for him. Never mind the fact he’s not military, they roll all this out for a man they weren’t sure they could trust?
- Are the Kents of Scottish descent? Anyone know why a bagpiper leads Clark’s funeral procession? (yes, I know, it drew parallels to Superman’s funeral, but that still doesn’t stop it from standing out.) Not exactly common in the midwest.
- “Hey, I know you’re lying on my son’s bed mourning his death, but here’s the engagement ring he bought for you and had shipped all the way to Smallville to hide it from you. I’m sure this won’t gut punch you emotionally.”
- Speaking of Lois… can anyone point to one specific moment in either film where these two suddenly fell in love?
- How does Lex know about Darkseid? While never mentioned by name, that is who his rant is about in the jail cell.
- Speaking of jail, that’s the explanation for Lex being bald? Oh please.
- When someone figures out why the Pa Kent scene was essential, please let me know.
- “Martha.” Really… I can’t even begin to explain the issues with the whole Martha bit. It was amazingly weak.
- “I failed him in life, but I won’t fail him in death.” You knew him for all of 10 minutes, Bruce. Shut up.
And then we come to the most egregious thing of the entire movie: Batman has zero issues with killing people. Batman has always had a very simple code that he does not kill. Take the Joker for instance, this madman has killed a Robin and crippled Batgirl, and he still wouldn’t kill him. In this movie he runs henchmen over, shoots them and blows them up. Nope, no problem with that. Producer Charles Roven spoke with Cinema Blend and explained the reasoning:
I think that it just came about that this particular Batman, he’s been jaded by the process. There’s a really amazing line in the movie, ‘20 years in Gotham, how many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?’ And let’s face it, he’s a very damaged guy… We see Robin is not around. The character has evolved, and he’s definitely a more brutal guy, and we wanted him to be right on that edge, right on that razor. And he has to be on the razor’s edge, or why would he get Superman’s attention?
Okay, fine, you have established a reason. So excuse me if I expect Batman to walk up to the Joker and shoot him in the skull immediately upon seeing him next. I mean, you’ve established he has no problem with killing, so why wouldn’t he do this? Because you can’t, and you know you can’t. It makes for more awesome fights if the thugs get killed in different ways, but you will never do this with a main villain, so your logic falls apart immediately.
With the exception of Affleck and Gadot’s performances, this movie was 2 & 1/2 hours of pain. I gave serious consideration to walking out at one point about an hour in, but I knew I had to stick it out if I was to ever talk about it. Snyder over pads his films with useless subplots because he can’t think of simplified ways of getting from point A to point B. It’s like everything he does needs two extra layer of complexity for no good reason.
Few movies have ever made me literally angry in the sense I would punch it if it was a person, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of those films.
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