As superhero movies go, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was no better or worse than any other superhero movie ever produced, and deserves better than the 27% Rotten rating it got from the reviewers. I mean, it’s a superhero movie, not Bridge on the River Kwai. I like superhero movies, though I’m done with Marvel for reasons this post should make clear, and I’ve always been a big fan of Superman. So overall I came away from the movie with a feeling of having been entertained, which is the entire point. The things I want to talk about here are spoiler-heavy, so if you haven’t seen it yet, do so before reading the rest.
Things I liked:
- The damage to Metropolis from the events of the film Man of Steel becoming a plot point was a nice touch. After all, Supes and his white trash cousins destroyed the city, so the aftermath of that made sense from a story perspective. This sort of thing wouldn’t have become such a big deal in a pre-9/11 world, when we Americans hadn’t had to deal with mass destruction of our metropolitan areas by inhuman terrorists.
- Ben Affleck did a perfectly fine job as Batman; I don’t see what the fuss was about. He’s a big, muscular fellow in middle age. The voice modulator helped. One thing I hated about the Christian Bale Batman was the silly, grating voice the actor put on when in costume.
- Jesse Eisenberg/Mark Zuckerberg as Lex Luthor also did a fine job, despite that he had to say a bunch of very dumb things. He didn’t come off as mentally ill: just evil and quirky.
- Superman always looked clean and bright and heroic, even when everything was dirty and dingy and awful. It gave him an otherworldly air. Kind of like an angel. Or Legolas in The Lord of the Rings.
- All the explosions and stuff. Batman’s armor was cool.
- Having Batman torture Superman a little was also cool, though it made Bats look more like a psychopath than might have been intended.
- The disturbing dream/vision Batman had while decrypting the data was dark and distressing and unusual. But I didn’t like it, too. You’ll find out why in a minute.
Things I didn’t like:
- Batman’s fight scenes were really slow. I don’t know why. It made them rote and unexciting.
- Superman didn’t get any opportunities to act heroic in the early parts of the movie, which helped boost Batman’s case that The Man of Steel is more a menace than a savior. Part of being a savior means saving people, and Supes didn’t do that.
- Batman’s dream/vision was, apparently, something that will become relevant in an upcoming film. If they’d titled the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Part 1, implying that this was the first part of one long story, that would be acceptable. But they didn’t. Don’t make me go to IMDB to find stuff out about the movie I just watched.
- Wonder Woman was nice and all, but she did absolutely nothing to advance the plot. There was no reason for her to be there except to tease the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. How she managed to outsmart Batman, the World’s Greatest Detective, was an artificial boost to make her look competent, but at Batman’s expense.
- Good on the writers for giving Batman mommy issues (I mean, who among us doesn’t have at least one), but it was insufficiently teased in the flashbacks for it to come off as anything but contrived at the end with “Save Martha.” That could’ve been really powerful, but it wasn’t.
- How did Lois Lane know to get the spear? Any explanation of that requires mental gymnastics rather than an honest analysis of the events of the film.
- We all knew that Superman wasn’t really dead at the end, so the last ten minutes were a waste of time. And now that it’s been reported that Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent is dead, what’re they going to do, just not have Superman’s secret identity anymore? Is that it for Superman as a character with a life outside of superheroing?
Anyway, I look forward to watching the Justice League film when it comes out on streaming video in a year or so.