March 28, 2016
Movie Monday: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Despite the reviews, I decided to use my birthday ticket to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It is a movie with large flaws, but one that I still enjoyed.
There's not much flow to the opening of the movie. It felt like I was watching a series of beginnings to different movies. Batman vs. Superman takes on far too much for a two-and-a-half hour action movie. Superman, in particular, gets shortchanged. His motives are mostly, "Batman is more brutal lately, and I don't like that." It doesn't help that Henry Cavill has a tendency to look blank whenever the camera focuses on him and he isn't saying anything. (That's often.)
Batman vs. Superman as a whole could use 200% more dialogue. This isn't just a movie where the characters don't talk to each other (despite that being a simple way to solve their problems). They just don't talk. I think Alfred (Jeremy Irons) talked the most, and his wit added a nice sense of levity to the proceedings. Some of the action did have a sense of humor too, like a bad guy pulling on Batman's cape or Batman pinning a mook exactly where the mook stabbed him. More humor would've been nice.
There's a game cast here. Amy Adams is wasted as Lois Lane, particularly as the whip-smart Pulitzer Prize winner gets interview questions like, "Are you a terrorist?" Laurence Fishburne gets slightly better material as her and Clark's editor. Holly Hunter and Harry Lennix make great political figures.
I feel personally vindicated that Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck do good jobs, since I've frequently defended those castings to my friends. Gadot played one of my favorite characters in the Fast and the Furious series, so I was happy to see her continue to do action films. Her Diana is intense, but also joyous in battle. I adored when the score kicked into full gear with her first appearance in costume. She made me eager for the solo Wonder Woman movie. (Beyond the fact that it is a solo Wonder Woman movie.)
I also hope to see Affleck in his own Bat-film. His jaded, older Bruce is an interpretation seen in the comics and cartoons, but not one that's graced a live-action film. He even gets in a few good ninja moves when he isn't attacking Superman head-on. I'm not entirely happy with what the Nolan trilogy did with the character, so I'm happy to see a new interpretation so soon.
Jesse Eisenberg, however, does not work as Lex Luthor. He gives a wonderfully energetic performance that is consistent with itself, but that doesn't work as any version of Luthor. It's like they were trying to update Luthor into Mark Zuckerberg, which is an idea that should've ended up in the trash can.
Batman vs. Superman is a movie filled with gaping holes and a dream sequence that sets up the next movie yet makes no sense, unless Batman is suddenly prophetic. But Batman and Wonder Woman are great, and the entire final showdown was fun. There was enough there that I liked that I'm happy I saw the film on the big screen. There's certainly potential in this DC universe, even if it has yet to be reached.