BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE IS A YAWN OF INDIFFERENCE March 28, 2016 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews, Featured Columns
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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: DC teams up its two super-serious keystone superheroes, Ben “Daredevil” Affleck and Henry “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Cavill. They fight each other, their pasts, their hangups, Lex Luthor and a monster, and briefly team up with a new Wonder Woman (Gail “Fast And Furious” Gadot). Plus a couple surprise folks are thrown in for fun. Or something resembling fun.
- Some of the casting: I might be alone but I had no issue with Ben Affleck as Batman. I thought he was believable and did a decent job. Same with Gadot as Diana “Wonder Woman” Prince, with the glaring exception of her bod (see “Cons” below). Lawrence “Matrix” Fishburn does another grouchy Perry White, although I still miss hearing “Great Ceasar’s Ghost!” And Jason “Conan” Momoa has a cool-looking cameo (even if his hair humorously gets in the way).
- A few 3D scenes were noticeably cool. (But otherwise not a big deal.)
- I never realized that Clark and Bruce’s moms have the same first name. Kudos to the writers for digging that up and using it well.
- Like MAN OF STEEL, the sheer power of Superman (and Wonder Woman) were really displayed well, with people and vehicles thrown around like old G.I. Joe dolls (the small ones) or limp bags of tater tots. (Mmmm…tater tots.) Unlike TV’s Superman who always got a running start and jumped up to fly, this one takes off like a literal rocket, going 0 to 1000 in a blink. If you dig that kinda thing, you’ll dig it here.
- The Batman fight scenes were the best, especially when you consider how bulky and restrictive that stupidly thick suit is. It looked like he could even turn his head a little this time. Really liked the choreography. And Wonder Woman definitely kicks tail.
- A quick mention/nod to “freaks in clown suits.” Plus quick glimpses of some other characters. And the Bat signal.
- The only two (intentionally) funny lines uttered by Batman were actually funny.
- Who knew Metropolis and Gotham each had football teams? Check out the clip on the right side of one of the monitor screens near the beginning. (I bet the game was more exciting than this movie.)
- This Batman has a more practical and hi-tech reason for talking like Christian Bale did.
- Cameos by the real Neil deGrasse Tyson (as well as Anderson Cooper, Charlie Rose and some real other anchors/hosts/reporters).
- (FROM MIKE: For the fanboys: finally, Batman co-creator Bill Finger received some ages-overdue credit; there’s also a list of past DC creators whose work was used in some way for the story, with everyone from Dan Jurgens to Jim Starlin to Carmine Infantino to Gardner Fox and several more; quick appearances by an Officer Mazzucchelli and Officer Rucka. And remember, Lex Luthor originally had = red hair in the 1940s comics.)
- One of my Facebook pals called Superman “joyless,” and that fits. He had two looks: scrunched-brow frown and scrunched-brow “who farted?” sneer (I think he smiled twice). I never rooted for the guy because basically Superman’s a dick. [MIKE: Plus there’s a silly use of a 24-year-old plotline that came across as desperate and manipulative.]
- A lot of “what/who/how/huh?” going on. Some guy I don’t know in a mechanical suit in a dream sequence I never saw again. Two more that I couldn’t tell if they were flashbacks, dreams or visions. And if you didn’t see MAN OF STEEL, you’ll be completely lost in the beginning. (I saw it but didn’t remember much, and worse, I missed the first five minutes buying overpriced snacks, so I *really* didn’t know what the hell was happening when I came in, during the whole Metropolis chase/wrecking scene.) Watch M.O.S. first and get to the theater early!
- Again I say, if Superman can literally fly faster than a guy can pull a trigger, faster than the naked eye can see, why would he not save his Dad from a tornado the same way so no one could see him? (See my brilliant observation in the review for MAN OF STEEL.)
- Tribute to/ripoff of Marvel’s Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Hulk, without any of the fun or humor. (Note to DC: you’d be better off aping their approach to movies and ability to tell a full story rather than character powers/equipment.)
- Only about three intentionally funny scenes (two of which made the audience actually chuckle) and more unintentionally funny ones (that made me chortle out loud a few times).
- Jesse Eisenberg, who played Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg perfectly, played Luthor played like a lame Joker. Sorry dude, Heath Ledger and even Jack Nicholson already did it better. And I have no idea why they got an average-looking dark-haired skinny dude like Ezra Miller for a cameo that didn’t fit.
- No suspense with Superman, because there’s never any real danger. He’s invulnerable except for exposure to Kryptonite, after which he just bounces back good as new; and DC obviously can’t kill their icon, so I’m never concerned or worried like I am with Batman, Captain America or any of the Marvel heroes outside of Thor, because all of them can have bones broken or be taken out by a bullet (at least in their secret identities). And because Supes is a dick, I have zero sympathy for the character.
- If Wonder Woman is supposed to be an Amazon, why is she built like a stick-figure fashion model? Gail Gadot sure ain’t Lynda Carter (so all the “cleavage” and tight blouse shots are a waste). Heck, Rhonda Roussey in a wig would’ve looked more believable. And Amy Adams, a great comedic and dramatic actress, is just Lois Lame compared to Margot Kidder or Teri Hatcher. Finally, Jeremy Irons ain’t no Michael Caine.
- If you’re wearing a Batsuit in a 120-degree desert, why the hell would you wear a trenchcoat on top of it? Not warm enough?
- The “big sad scene” wasn’t moving and came off too preachy and PC. Too much film-school/critic-aimed “God-man” philosophy and parental issues.
- The Batmobile is just another gray tank/moving arsenal. No real style, no flair. Better than the absurdly impractical “Tumbler” though.
- No button after the credits, or even during the main end titles.
I came in with low expectations so I wasn’t disappointed. There’s a lot of disjointed stuff going on, and at times it feels like three different films shoved into one. There are some very good fight scenes but the premises for some were almost as insulting as the comics. (Typical misunderstanding between heroes, and rather than just blurting out the reason, they start fighting without talking.) The middle was slow. But it’s still entertaining at least out of curiosity, and sets the stage for the next two Justice League flicks so if you’re any fan at all, you have to see this eventually anyway. Just don’t waste your theater money, especially for 3D or IMAX.
P.S. You know what’s better than the Batman vs. Superman flick? Some Batman or Superman (or Wonder Woman) original art! That Pascale guy does good with both—and even better with Wonder Chick. Just ask Craig here!