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So I like ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ what’s Wrong with me?
There are spoilers for the film ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’
It is Thursday evening, I’m hanging with my buddy Paul who snagged us some tickets for the early showing of ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and I’ll be honest I’m not looking forward to the movie. It has now been days since the official preview showings and reviews are leaking through about how bad this movie is. I will first admit that I am a Zack Snyder fan ever since I saw ‘Dawn of the Dead’, I really like his style of a movie. You know what you are going to get when you see Snyder’s work, you get a lot of action, violence, crazy CGI, almost to a cartoon-like level. That’s his style, just like when you see a Tim Burton movie; you get those crazy, dark, disproportionate images that you know he came up with while on a weekend absinthe binder.
Now I’m hesitant about this movie because while I enjoy Snyder’s work I equally despise ‘Man of Steel’. Sorry it just doesn’t work for me. In fact I had a nice healthy discussion about ‘MoS’ right after seeing ‘BvS’. I never thought I’d meet someone who really liked the film. This guy was a passionate Superman fan, he even wore this sorta adult Superman onesie including cape. I’m the last to tell anyone how to celebrate their fandom, but what was amazing to me was his dedication about how “real” ‘Man of Steel’ was for him. He explained to me that he thought the film’s brilliance was that it showed how an alien would be presented in our post 9-11 world. That I can’t argue, but even with those revelations I still think it’s a horrible film.
Paul and I are now sitting in the theatre, which is pretty full and as the lights go dim and that green preview banner goes up before the first trailer I am bracing myself for what I can only imagine is a terrible film. Shortly after the movie starts it reminds us of the turning point that made Bruce Wayne go into crime fighting-the death of his family. The sequence was shot in a series of close ups and camera slow-downs which reminded me heavily of Snyder’s work in ‘Watchmen’. I started to relax, maybe this film was going to be better than “Man of Steel.” The movie follows the death of the Waynes and their funeral which has young Bruce running away, falling down a cavern (much like in the Christopher Nolan universe) but this time he is rushed by startled bats who swirl him like a whirlwind and lift him out of the dark hole and toward the bright light.
I won’t lie I was almost out right there. Four minutes into this film and I’m like” nope not having it, I’m done”. This is stupid, even for Zack Snyder and I’m a guy who will defend ‘Suckerpunch’. Then just as I was about to let my mind wander into drudgery the next words snapped me back, oh this is a dream that Bruce has. Okay I can deal with that, I’ll let this movie give me a Godfather III moment you know the one. ‘I thought I was out, and they pulled me back in.”
From then on the movie is on this odd little roller coaster balancing the stories of two heroes. You have in one corner Superman who has to face the terms with what is the true cost of being a hero. Can he manage to have love and a life and be the planet’s savior? On the other side you have Batman who is now twenty years into the vigilante game who has not only suffered loss during his night life. (Apparently Robin is offed by some Joker in this universe) His day job suffers a tremendous loss of a September 11th scale during the battle between Superman and Zod. He then became consumed with the obsession of protecting the world from Superman or those like him to make sure the events of MoS ever happen again. In between the two stories is that of Lex Luthor a kinda Neo-hipster Scientist/CEO with daddy issues who is also obsessed with ridding the world of Superman. So obsessed that he uses everyone from the US Government to ultimately Batman to do the job for him, and when that doesn’t work he uses a CGI flawed Doomsday.
Also sprinkled in is Wonder Woman who has turned her back against the” world of Man” for almost a hundred years. Ultimately she is also roped into (pun intended) the final battle. There are also a couple of hints to a justice league. We see documented footage of the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Of course Batman and Superman fight and then they make up and take on the poorly animated Doomsday.
When it was all said and done I was pleased with what I had seen, and I even waited for most of the credits to see if there was a stinger at the end (there wasn’t). But that says I wanted more. I looked to Paul and was like ‘I liked it, I was pleasantly surprised but I liked it.” I dug Ben Affleck’s troubled, older Batman with this awesome sidekick Alfred played brilliantly by Jeremy Irons. I liked how they made Alfred more like James Bond’s Q than a butler, he also continues the role of trying to be Bruce’s moral compass steering him toward the light. The other stand out performance was Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor., it was like he was channeling part Gene Hackman, part crazy, and part coddled hipster who might need a safe space, whatever you call the mix it worked for me.
I liked the Mise En-Scene, Gotham looks gritty, Metropolis is cleaner even with the rebuild from the Kryptonian Invasion. I liked how Batman looked, I liked the voice box synthesizer that made me think Bruce was using the Voice from ‘Dune’.
I never thought I’d see the armor Batman wore while fighting the Predator back in the 90s but here it was fighting another alien.
I thought Wonder Woman looked great, I loved to watch her fight and I was happy to see the Golden Lasso.
I still don’t like Amy Adams’ Lois Lane. I can’t explain why she just doesn’t click and she doesn’t seem to have the chemistry that Lois needs with Clark or Superman. She also has the honor of being in the worst scene in the movie involving a kryptonite tipped spear and a convenient pool of water. I can’t get over how awful Doomsday looks. He looks like something the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might fight crossed with an albino’s booger. It is simply terrible. Also the movie suffers from something a lot of movies from this millennium suffers from, it doesn’t know when to end. There were four or five spots where the movie could’ve just stopped and it would’ve been okay but no it had to keep going. No wonder there was no stinger it was right there along with its other four siblings.
So after the film I went home and looked forward to presenting my first spoiler free thought of the film. I tweeted and expected my friends to agree. Then to my surprise people I know and respect didn’t like the film. They called it a mess, terrible, a waste of time, garbage, wasted opportunities, and my favorite ‘too much going on.’ I was surprised, I mean here I am just loving this film, and I agree it’s not perfect, but is it terrible? Maybe there is something wrong with me? Maybe I saw a different version of the film, one of those Twilight Zone type situations where Paul and I were temporarily transported to a theatre where Dawn of Justice was good, but unable to share my experience because of the nature of the internet.
I thought of the guy in his Superman outfit and his love of ‘Man of Steel.’ Did I now become him? Defending this movie to the masses who are ready to gather pitchforks and torches to storm Zack Snyder’s house and tar and feather him. Maybe it’s because I like Zack Snyder, maybe it is because I’m not a fan of DC comics. I don’t have the same connection to the characters as I would to those in the X-Men. This is a different telling of the Superman and Batman story, it works within the confines of the digital prison that Snyder placed them in. Honestly in the grand scale of comic book movies over the last ten years I put it around Avenger’s Age of Ultron, or slightly above it. While Dawn of Justice had action it had breathing room unlike Age of Ultron which was mostly high octane fueled action with just a couple of breathing points. Seriously ‘AoU’ was like “We can’t slow down too much or the 13 year old boys will rebel against us.” Such is the nature of Hollywood today.
Maybe, I’m crazy. Maybe I’m stupid. Maybe I fell asleep and dreamed a better movie and Paul is too polite to tell me that I snored and drooled the entire time. Whatever the case may be I liked what I saw, I’m actually looking forward to a longer rated R version just to see where it goes. Is it my favorite Batman movie? Nope, is it the worst Batman or Superman film? Nope still a long way to go to topple ‘Batman and Robin, ‘Superman Returns’, and ‘The Quest for Peace’
I mentioned writing this blog on my Facebook as a warning to my readers that this would be coming. A friend of mine posted an interested thought. “Everyone gets to like what they like.” I have to admit that’s true. If Onesie Superman Fan can like ‘Man of Steel’ then I can like ‘Dawn of Justice’ I will see it again, maybe in a couple of weeks as a matinee when I can get it for an economical price. Very few movies are worth a second viewing in theatres even less are worth the night time prices.
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