Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice - Review

The Line-Up: Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)

Important Tangential Characters: Martha Kent (Diane Lane), Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Alfred (Jeremy Irons)

Too Cool for School: Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Doomsday (Icky CGI Effects!)

Snyder plunges us into a world where superheroes and super villains leave much collateral damage in their wake.  This parallels the real-world sentiments about the US government's unilateral activities and corresponding collateral damage.  Superman is seen as a super-powered dick wad for a period of time.

Then there's the bitter Batman.  Batman has dead friends and shattered infrastructure from events that are 100 times more devastating than 9/ll was.  Kyptonians may as well be terrorists.  Batman must act with the utmost severity. We get to see Bruce Wayne do hardcore training, which includes doing weighted pull-ups and tire pulling.  I happen to know that Affleck's training for The Town featured weighted pull-ups.  I was surprised at how much I bought into the Affleck Batman.  I think the mask should have covered more of his face though.

Then there's Lex Luthor.  Eisenberg's Luthor may very well be the most sane Luthor that's ever been put to screen.  He simply wants to protect the globe and mankind.  Luthor's ticks are merely a coping mechanism for a tough world and a cosmically horrifying existence.  Luthor also wears clean sneaker, a sign of an attentive individual.

Then there's Wonder Woman.  Wonder Woman's introduction to the action is grand and yet  not nearly enough what we deserve.  Her entrance is overblown with thunderous music but her screen time is pathetic.  The true way to celebrate her would have been to give her extended screen time and hold the pompous music.  Furthermore, shouldn't Wonder Woman have more cut up legs, like Superman?  Nonetheless, some cheered for Wonder Woman, but mostly little kids I suspect.

Amy Adams is gorgeous as Lois Lane and she figures into the action in interesting ways.  She does need rescuing quite a bit but who out there doesn't in situations like this.  Lois Lane got more screen time and that's the true victory even though she kicks considerably less ass.

Then there's the underrated Jeremy Irons' rendering of Alfred.  Irons brings something to Alfred that lies between Michael Gough and Michael Caine, less emotive than Caine and less reserved than Gough.  Irons sporting the spectacles adds a little something more that I can't quite express.

This film drops powerful references.  We see Joe Morton is a role reminiscent of his iconic Terminator 2 appearance as Dyson.  We hear Shostakovich's Waltz II (Jazz Suite No. 2) play at a ritzy event, which immediately recalls a similar Eyes Wide Shut scene set to that music.  We see how Wizard of Oz and Superman are closely linked due to the Kansas connection when Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) makes a wisecrack about Clark Kent clicking his heels three times to return.  This film is not worthy.

This film also engages in an increasingly tired and disingenuous trend that I can't say without spoiling the movie, but it weakens the film.  By the way, there's no need to watch all the credits (there is no extra teaser).

This film has some good stuff, and kudos to Snyder for making a movie I mostly enjoyed.  History shows that the best films have simple premises and simple stories: Dirty Harry, The Terminator, Rocky, Casablanca, It Happened One Night, The Godfather, Psycho, and many more.  Sure, sometimes a Pulp Fiction comes along and makes an argument for convolution but even that story is simpler than it seems once it's untangled.  Consider Iron Man, arguably the best superhero film since 2000 and maybe ever, consider the simplicity.  As far as DC goes, consider Superman II and Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (there's only room for the Joker!).  

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