Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)

Since Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is more like a series of happenings than a coherent cinematic experience, I shall keep this review to a list of observations and thoughts.

1. I’ve come away from this movie seeing a lot and knowing very little.

2. The movie is called “Batman V Superman” even though the titular juggernauts spend less than 10% of its enormous running time doing battle. Clearly Warner Bros. subscribes to the belief that humans crave violence.

3. Despite this goliath showdown, neither hero enters the fight with any real motive. This is proven when the fight ends almost as quickly as it began. All ill-intent is suddenly washed away, and the opposing forces are now comrades. Poor writing? Or has Bruce Wayne truly lost it? I also love how Lois Lane (Amy Adams), as in Man Of Steel (2013), is always a stone’s throw away to witness Superman in action. She is a rather ineffective deus ex machina.

4. Gal Gadot is stunningly beautiful as Wonder Woman and carries a kind of dignified aggressiveness, but not for a second do I have any clue who she is, why she’s there, or what she can do. Her appearance in this movie is predicated on her fans’ existing knowledge of her biography. Don’t add characters you can’t handle.

5. Director Zack Snyder is unaware that movies can be shot during the day. Instead his film is grim and looks like it was soaked in a vat of crude oil. That’s a problem because I’m not very keen on staring at crude oil for two-and-a-half hours.

6. Henry Cavill has the physique of a Greek god. Ben Affleck might have one as well, but because he’s in character all the time, his body is shrouded in shadow. Tough luck being Batman.

7. I don’t confess to knowing the inner workings of the DC Comics universe, but I believe I’ve identified the problem with this film: It is too impatient. DC, having studied the marketing and financial success of its rival company Marvel Comics, no doubt decided it’d be a lucrative move to shove all its superpowered eggs into one oversized basket, so that fans all over the world can say they’ve seen magic happen in real life when really they have to settle for second-rate action sequences and characters as thinly written as the scribbles on your cubicle door. The film is bloated, meandering, and really quite dull in its first two acts. I believe it should have dropped the “versus” angle entirely and stuck to developing human connections. I hear the movie on home media will include thirty minutes of deleted footage. This can’t be good news for a movie that’s already thirty minutes too long.

8. If DC had mastered the virtue of patience, paying close attention to the call of its fans, it might have followed the Marvel structure and enjoyed similar results. It would have continued, however, to labour under Snyder’s grisly kinetic style, which I believe is completely wrong for this material. One of the joys of a Marvel movie is that we’re always in sync with what’s happening on screen, to whom, by whom, and why. Batman V Superman is visually chaotic.

9. Lex Luthor as a comic character is a presentable, well-groomed businessman, wary of the world, focused on self-preservation. The Lex Luthor in this movie resembles a homeless teenager trying very hard to pass himself off as a scheming adult, skipping about in a world that is clearly too cold and sophisticated for his own good. I would also like to examine the hat Jesse Eisenberg pulled this performance out of.

10. This movie deals with characters that some grandparents have grown up with. Its mistake is to treat them as such.

12. Batman is my favourite DC superhero. I admire his abhorrence of guns and killing, and how he feels responsible for the welfare of his city. The Batman in this movie has been Batman for twenty years. He’s older now, slightly delusional, morally off-kilter; he has nightmares of slaughtering soldiers and at one point drags a car full of thugs behind his Batmobile. Adam West had it easy with his marijuana and hippie power.

12. The movie begins and ends with a funeral. That can’t spell good news for whatever’s in between.

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