[Movie Review] Batman VS. Superman

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Batman VS. Superman (2016)

It’s that time of year folks, the comic book movies have arrived with Batman VS. Superman. A movie some people will tell you had been mentioned in I am Legend back in 2007.

Bennett North and myself went to go see it. Her review can be found here.

Either love’em or hate’em you’ll probably be watching two actors in their underwear beating the crap out of each other or a CGI enemy with a bombastic soundtrack in a darkened theater and wonder: Why is this happening, again?

It’s happening for several reasons mostly because the comic book event of 1993 was too good to pass up as a live action movie since it was already a direct to video cartoon debut in 2007:

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And because of this:
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In 2012, the final chapter of Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises ended and a year later Man of Steel arrived all the while Marvel has been building their Phase 2 on the cinema screens and branching out into television where DC/CW has been king of the roost.

I bring all this up because DC’s idea to not link 4 seasons worth of Arrow, 2 seasons worth of The Flash and half season of Supergirl was met with a bit of disdain. So, the movies will be their own universe, the television will be there own. Fine, that’s understandable.

Wonder Woman after several years of gathering dust will get her own movie.

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That’s looking awesome.

Oh, and so will the Justice League of America. Them too. Great! Right? Sure, George Miller isn’t directing but hey it’s better than nothing, right?

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There’s one slight problem with all this planning: Instead of going the Marvel route of single movies that lead up to a big movie they shoehorned all these ideas into a 2.5 hour movie that should’ve been Justice League and instead like the script for The Dark Knight Rises the writers have merged several big DC Comics events into a movie with mixed results.

Writers David Goyer and Chris Terrio attempt to spin a great deal of dishes while Zach Snyder directs returning cast members: Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Diane Lane as Martha Kent along with new additions Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor along with blink and you’ll miss her Tao Okamoto as Lex’s right hand Mercy Graves and oh, right, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince.

So with that many actors is it any good?

Yes and no. No movie is ever perfect. This movie like it’s predecessor represents a tonal shift for DC movies and it may not be a good idea. I feel DC has decided to give the fans everything too soon. I liken this to Spider-Man 3 with it’s multiple villains but with a duller color pallet and an on the nose soundtrack that will take a long time to love and I liked Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL’s Man of Steel soundtrack, too.

The plot bounces around too much for it’s own good from dreams to nightmares to the bombastic finale of Man of Steel to eighteen months later where the world is dealing with fallout of Superman’s heroics.

It’s during this that one wonders why Lois hasn’t published interviews with Superman to try and control the mob because people are looking to blame Superman for things that he didn’t have a hand in like Senator Finch played by Holly Hunter.

The backroom deals scenes with Finch and Lex Luthor is great because it shows how you give Lex an inch and he’ll take a yard. You give him Zod’s body along with the Kryptonian ship and he plays god. His character is a lightning rod in this movie. It’s because of his antics the heroes are fighting and makes complete sense even if his plans are crazy. He is no Gene Hackman but like every reboot he will be compared to the ones that came before him.

The subplot of Lois and Clark are living together is perfectly fine and makes sense. Thankfully Adams gets something to do unlike Tao Okamoto who is given the unfortunate part of set dressing or Diane Lane playing the mother in peril. I surely hope there’s a scene in the near future of Diana Prince giving self defense class to Lois and Martha Kent. Because Martha looks the type to kick ass.

Speaking of Diana Prince played by Gal Gadot, she appears and disappears when needed and takes most of an interesting plot with her which is truly unfortunate. I had hoped for Gina Carano for Diana Prince and instead Gal hit it for the fences and really won me over, too bad most of her big scenes are in the trailers.

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The look on her face is priceless. She’s like: Okay, let’s play. And goes back for more.

Her solo movie won’t be out for a year.

Finally, we come to the role that has had the most change over the years, Batman played by Ben Affleck. His Batman along with the suit and car are perfectly fine even if it’s a departure from what came before. After twenty years and as other reviewers have mentioned already, several Batman Arkham games he’s not above getting his hands dirtier than before. It’s unfortunate most of the action sequences take place the dark and the lone car chase sequence that was so over edited that I couldn’t even tell where everyone was.

The problem is certain dream / nightmare sequences looked really good in the trailers but don’t add anything to the overall plot except for getting inside Bruce’s head. This is fine until you have a cameo from something that I can only assume is The Flash telling Bruce he was right about someone before the Flash evaporates into a ball of light. I say only assume because the Flash’s SFX for this time bubble for lack of better word didn’t work well.

As for the end, well, I already mentioned too much too soon and that’s what the end is. I’m kinda glad DC didn’t go the Marvel route and link everything together. I can liken it to every Doctor Who regeneration, sometimes you get Tom Baker and sometimes you get Colin Baker. Or in this case, every comic book reboot you have your favorite creative team replaced with a new team that just needs to learn to leave the audience wanting more without stuffing a three layer cake down our throats first.

Is it re-watchable like Nolan’s trilogy?

That is excellent question for when they reboot Batman and Superman, again in another decade…or less.

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