Monday, March 28, 2016

The Esteemed Critic Reviews Batman Vs. Superman

What to say about Batman vs. Superman? The first thirty minutes of the film, I was intrigued. Rather than starting immediately with the action, director Zack Snyder takes time to build the stakes, introducing us to Batman and Lex Luther as well as giving the former a reason for his eventual conflict with Superman. Past the thirty minute mark, however, my patience started to wear thin. Instead of the world's greatest detective, Batman comes off as a complete idiot. When the kid gloves are removed and Luthor finally manipulates the two titans into fighting, it is not an enjoyable experience. Let me add that Batman in the Snyderverse has no qualms with killing; the batmobile is equipped with machine guns, and Bats uses them to explode a car or ten. Though I am not the biggest fan of the Nolan films, at least Batman was somewhat relatable in them; he differed from his villains in that he had rules, even at his most extreme. Batman here is the dourest of the dour; I don't think Affleck cracks a smile the whole movie. Superman isn't much better. Henry Cavill has the looks and the physique, but not a lot of charisma. In this flick Superman is a distant, alien god, which is an interesting interpretation, sure, but it isn't the Superman that's been a mainstay of American pop culture for years. The most miscast is Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Eisenberg portrays Luthor as a billionaire hipster who does mountains of crack; I mean, he doesn't do any crack during the film, but I'm assuming Eisenberg must've been getting high while filming his scenes. He stutters and stumbles over words; his voice cracks with vocal ticks, and his dialogue is nonsensical, the kind of stuff a druggie would say. I am assuming his failure of a performance was an attempt to redefine the Luthor character for a new generation the way Heath Ledger's Joker did. Whatever his intentions, it simply doesn't work. Like at all.

The plot is a convoluted mess involving emails and kryptonite and alien technology. When Superman and Batman (and Wonder Woman, who's actually pretty cool) unite to fight Doomsday, the resulting spectacle is a weary Micheal Bay-esque clash of CGI and slow-mo (seriously, everything is slow-mo in this movie; the first minute, which shows the death of Bruce's parents, is in slow-motion, for some reason). Doomsday looks like a poop-monster, and his creation by Luthor is nonsensical (like, what was Lex going to do with an uncontrollable super-creature if it had killed Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman?). When the movie finally ends, you'll feel a sense of relief.

It's hard to criticize DC for having a different approach to their movies than Marvel. If they want to be self-serious and gritty, then fine, be self-serious and gritty. Such an approach will work for Batman, yet characters like Wonder Woman and Superman, whose colorful natures contrast with such a depiction, lose their essence in a movie like Batman vs. Superman. Though they have become rather predictable, Marvel movies at least have their own separate tone that's distinct yet not so much so that you can't imagine Captain America and Iron Man on screen together. The hero that stands for truth, justice, and the American way cannot exist in the Snyderverse, that's why he's nearly unrecognizable as a distant god. If DC can't figure out how to do their iconic characters right, then the bad reviews will continue. Now I need to watch some French-Surrealism to get the awful taste of big-budget mass entertainment out of my mouth.

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