Thursday, March 24, 2016

Batman V Superman Spoiler Free Review

I can finally confirm that I attended an advance screening of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this week. This is a spoiler free review that will not expose any major plot points or twists however some may find my critique too informative. Continue reading at your own risk.

I am a comic purist so this review is written from a comic junkie's POV. Other fellow purist geeks will get my references (you beautiful people).

The battle between DC Comics two greatest (and most profitable) heroes is something that comic book fans have seen played out repeatedly in books and animation. Dawn of Justice directed by Zack Snyder, marks the first time in cinematic history that both Batman and Superman are starring in the same film. They are joined by another DC powerhouse who has not been played by an actress since the 1975-1979 Lynda Carter television series (let's forget about that horrible 2011 Adrianne Palicki failed pilot). Wonder Woman finally makes her big screen debut and it was the only moment that drew applause from the crowd.

The opening to Dawn of Justice was an intense one that will please comic book fans and those who enjoyed the 2013 film Man of Steel. It also gives us a better perspective on why Batman is quite frankly, pissed off at Superman. This film displays a lot of character progression. We witness how Clark Kent and Lois Lane's relationship has evolved. We see (in between pity parties) Superman become more of a hero that makes him  Christopher Reeves like and less New 52. Prior to the films release, a statement was made that this movie incarnation of Batman would be the Frank Miller version. They were right. Prepare yourself to see a brutally intense Batman. In the midst of Batman and Superman's battle is Lex Luthor, quietly causing trouble for the Man of Steel until the finale which results in all three heroes joining forces. At a run time of 2 and a half hours, there is a lot of story crammed in there. To make it easier for readers (but mostly for myself), my final thoughts on the film will be broken down in two parts listing what worked in the film....and what didn't.

The weakest links.
*2 and a half hours almost felt like an eternity. I feel most movies these days are far too long and this was one of them. Half an hour could have definitely been shaved from the run time.*

*Lex Luthor. Where do I start? It was evident by the trailers that this version of Lex was going to suck. He is socially awkward. He is odd. He is mentally unstable. He is wearing a bad wig. As a comic purist I am completely baffled that this is the direction Warner Brothers and DC went with for Luthor. I guess we can chalk this up to the "re imagined" excuse aka we-are-too-lazy-to-stick-to-the-original-source-material-and-are-going-to-go-in-the-complete-opposite-direction-even-though-that's-not-what-fans-want-to-see. The sad thing is, this is now part of their cinematic universe. I honestly hope they never use him again. Jesse Eisenberg's Lex makes you long for the days Gene Hackman was yelling about real estate and wanting to own Australia, silly as that was.*

*One of the main characters suffers from traumatic nightmares and we the audience, witness these nightmares. And it gets confusing. There were periods where I didn't know what was going on because of the nightmare sequences.*

*I am a Batman fan. I'm not a fan of Frank Miller's Batman. At all. I don't enjoy a hero like The Batman who goes on a murderous rampage. That's not what Batman stands for. That's not within his character. What separates him from the criminals he fights against is that he will not cross that line and take a life. He will not become Joe Chill.  This Batman however is a murdering loose canon who in the end, I found very hypocritical. Don't be pissed at Superman when you run around Gotham doing whatever  the hell you want at the expense of other peoples lives, Bruce. I started out siding with the Bat but then ended up hating him by the end of the film.*

*Amy Adams. Oh Amy Adams, where do I start? I adore you. I loved you as Giselle in Disney's Enchanted. I adored you in The Muppets. I even enjoyed your performance on Smallville where you played a heavy set girl who lost a ton of weight thanks to Kryptonite but then started eating your classmates. But you are not Lois Lane. You are miscast. Something is missing in your scenes with Henry Cavill. I feel the love on his end. I look at him and I see Superman. When I look at you I see.....Amy Adams. The red hair doesn't work (Lois is dark haired goddammit. Even Kate Bosworth wore a wig in Superman Returns) and there's zero chemistry between you and Cavill. There's no spark. I don't feel that epic love between my favorite comic book couple. Sorry (please don't hate me).*

*It's no secret that Aquaman is in the film. He was given his own poster. He has his own action figures. I do not have an issue with him. Despite the dark hair, he looks great. I have an issue with another Leaguer. I was not happy when casting was announced. We do see him in this film and my doubtful feelings were confirmed. I did not like what I saw.*


*Batfleck. Batfleck. Batfleck! Ben Affleck slaughtered the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. I had my doubts and was pleasantly surprised. Although I do not care for this particularly extreme version of Batman, I can't sing his praises enough. He was truly phenomenal.*

*Batman's costumes. Again they absolutely nailed this. The costume department brought the Bat's main costume and his armor to life beautifully. This is easily the best costume look Batman has had onscreen ever.*

*Henry Cavill is my favorite Superman since Christopher Reeves. In Batman V Superman we see his character deal with the public repercussions of his disastrous fight with General Zod in Metropolis. We see him grow as a partner to Lois. We see how far he has advanced in his professional career as a reporter. In the finale, I feel like we finally get to see him as the Superman we all know and love (pre New 52). I greatly enjoyed how Superman was written and his growth as a character. Henry Cavill's acting was beautiful.*

*Wonder Woman!  Although she doesn't grace the screen for very long, she was the highlight of the film (and a nice break from the testosterone). Like many, I have been waiting to see Diana on the big screen my entire life. I can proudly report she was worth the wait. Gal Gadot nailed the Amazon Warrior. When you finally see her before you and more importantly what she is doing, you will cry out in joy guaranteed. I am even more excited for her solo film. 2017 can't come soon enough!*

*Jeremy Irons as Alfred. Unfortunately he wasn't in the film very much however I loved every scene he was in. Alfred Pennyworth is a beloved character and has been played previously by many great actors. Jeremy Irons is a welcome addition to the Pennyworth legacy. I look forward to his character expanding in the solo Ben Affleck Batman films.

*Comic book references. There are many references comic book buffs will recognize and appreciate. Some scenes will look familiar as they look as if they are panels pulled from the comic.

*The finale. I shall not elaborate.

Personally I enjoyed the film. There was some things that I did not care for however there were many things that I liked. I do hope the formula changes a bit for the Justice League film to fix what doesn't work (however with Zack Snyder once again directing I doubt that is possible). I honestly feel that this film will divide the community much like Man of Steel did. Some will love it. Others will hate it. 


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