Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writers: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer

Composers: Junkie XL, Hans Zimmer

Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Godot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Michael Shannon

More info: IMDb

Plot:  Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It's up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

My rating: 6/10
UPDATE 9/7/16: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.


After so many negative reviews, my expectations were very low.  They were actually low after seeing MAN OF STEEL (2013).  It's the same team so why think it's going to be different?  MoS had possibilities but there were too many dumb and unnecessary moments in it to make it good and/or fun.  The same thing happens in BvS.  It took a long time for me to stop waiting to see why this movie's getting such hate.  I was actually liking it.  That is until I realized that this picture isn't going to lighten up and the little dumb things started adding up pretty quick.  I really don't want to spend too much time writing this but this is a flawed film.  Batman really believes that if a man as potentially dangerous as Superman has a 1% chance of destroying mankind then he needs to be killed?  He said that.  That's dumb thinking and he's smarter than that.  I'm totally OK with these two titans going at it but you've really got to play it just right.  And when Batman has Superman on the ropes and is about to kill him, Superman mentions the word "Martha" (which also happens to be Batman's mother's name) and Batman pulls back.  Minutes later these two are best buds.  THE FUCK?  It was a jump the shark moment (one of a few).

Ben Affleck was great.  I like his Bruce/Batman.  I was never worried about that.  Cavill is too brooding but his Clark was good.  It wouldn't take much (ahem, better writing) for him to be great in the role.  Lois Lane had less to do in this one (a very good thing) so Amy Adams wasn't nearly as annoying.  Jesse Eisenberg's choices for portraying Lex Luthor were odd (and annoying) at best.  He takes the prize for worst performance in the film.  What bugged me most is sitting through 150 minutes of darkness.  The big fight at the end is at night (of course).  I'm guessing that was to make massive amounts of fire and explosions look brighter...that and it's easier on the CGI kids.  It's just not a fun movie.  The filmmakers are so intent on making these films so dark and gritty that they forget about what makes movies like this fun and enjoyable.  It's not just the tone but also the look.  THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) did it masterfully, finding that balance of dark and fun, of having your cake and somehow eating it, too.  The Marvel films haven't lost sight of the fun factor.  I'm not saying that shit needs to be funny and comic book-y but I don't want to come out of a piece of escapism feeling like I was the one taking all the punches.

I'm not a DC hater, btw.  Just because Marvel gets it right and DC is struggling to catch up doesn't me you have to be for one or the other.  I want DC to be just as good.  There's plenty of room for more at the table.  I don't get the hate for Zack Snyder.  You can blame him for the film's style and look but you can't blame him for the biggest culprit in the reasons why this and MoS are unnecessarily flawed.  I don't hear anyone blaming the screenwriters.  Granted, I'm not reading everything but the common consensus is that Snyder sucks and he needs to be fired.  I disagree.  David Goyer is the common denominator here.  You can't make a movie without a script.  He's shown that he can do good work.  No one is mentioning that Christopher Nolan is a producer on these films.  And don't tell me that he's just there 'in name only'.  Surely he has a voice.  The studio is likely partially to blame for not giving the script time to breathe and get polished up.  They've painted themselves in a corner with fixed dates on when their DC movies are going to hit which puts an extraordinary amount of pressure on everyone involved.  They want what Marvel has but without building the foundation of quality that it needs.  BvS feels like it's doing too much at once to fast track their AVENGERS equivalent.  Seriously?  Bruce Wayne finds secret files on Luthor's computer about Cyborg, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Aquaman AND emails/instant messages them to Wonder Woman?  Talk about lazy writing.  That was awful.  There is an awful lot that needed to be cut from BvS that should've been handled differently, smarter and better.  I said I wasn't going to write much and I did.  And I feel like I'm just getting started.  Snyder recently dropped that they'll have an R-rated version of the film on home video that's three hours long, with only more violence garnering the R rating.  Maybe in twenty years I'll see it but I'm not ready for another half hour of ridiculous darkness.  I believe that there's a good film in BvS but it would take a good deal of editing to begin to find it.

UPDATE 9/7/16: I just watched the Ultimate Edition and boy oh boy what a difference this cut makes!  It's rather great.  Now, I think part of it is waiting a few months to revisit it but a bigger part is this cut.  There were a few things I noticed that were added but not thirty minutes' worth.  Some scenes were a little longer, giving us a little more time to soak things in like when Wonder Woman reads Batman's email about the other Meta Humans (it sounds so silly when typing this).  The things that still bug me a lot are what ends the BvS fight and Clark mailing the ring to his mom to give to Lois.  The latter makes no sense whatsoever and I've yet to hear a good explanation.  I wasn't much of a fan when I saw this in the theater but I'm sure a fan now that I've seen this extended version.  I liked it.  Give it a shot.  

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