A week after its initial release, I watched Batman V Superman. It's been a few days now, and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the film. To put this into context for you, I'm a fan of each characters' comics, and some of their previous movie outings. Superman-wise, Christopher Reeve is my Kal-El, and portrayed him with effortless grace and charm, while injecting Clark Kent with the clumsiness required for his disguise. Superman I & II are deemed good in my book, and Superman Returns isn't bad, although it's essentially a remake of the original. As for Batman, I'm an unashamed fan of Tim Burton's original Batman film. It's dark, yet comic-booky, and although Michael Keaton's Bruce Wayne seems a little bit odd, his Batman was great in my opinion. I don't really rate the sequels - they got progressively worse until exploding in the glittery fireball of Batman & Robin, which I don't know, may actually be a great watch these days, taken for what it is: a ridiculously colourful and stupid comic book film. The Nolan Bat films are great in my book - I'm totally down with them (although Bale's gruff Batman voice does irritate me).
So that's where I am on Batman and Superman - I like them, but I'm not a huge fan of either. I'd say I'm more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan, but I've got time for these guys and will always give them a chance.
So, to the film. It's hard to know where to begin really, there is a LOT you could say about Batman V Superman, and most critics have been doing just that (it currently sits at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes). I'm not saying it's as bad as a lot of critics have been saying, but I understand why there's such a backlash. I don't want to write a full review, as everyone has reviewed it by now, better than I can, but I want to give some thoughts about what I thought worked, and what didn't.
Firstly, the film is LONG. 2 hours 31 mins is a long time for most movies, but somehow it still feels like they tried to cram too much into it. Batman has a few dream/vision scenes that I thought could have been cut. They're clearly trying to set up future storylines, but in the context of this film they were just a little confusing. Also, there's a lot of slow-mo. Cut it out Snyder, this isn't Watchmen anymore, you gave this film a stupid title, now let it live down to the film everyone expects it to be.
The setups for the rest of the Justice League felt very shoehorned in. Lex Luthor has an encrypted drive with four files on it, and each one is emblazoned with the logo of the corresponding Justice League member. They could have just briefly shown that and I would have been happy - it would have been a nod to fans and not slowed the movie down. Instead we have to witness Wonder Woman watch short videos of The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, none of whom have any relevance to this story.
Lex Luthor is miscast. We almost had Bryan Cranston, but instead we get Jesse Eisenberg doing an extra kooky Jesse Eisenberg. Irritating.
Batfleck is pretty awesome. He's perhaps a little too angry all the time, but he was believable as Bruce Wayne, and kind of brilliant in his Batman action scenes. They've made Batman kind of ninja and scary in his fights, and that's fine by me. His Batvoice is done by a voice modulator which works very well and makes him sound genuinely intimidating.
Wonder Woman is great in this film. The only problem is she's hardly in it. We only see her suited for battle in the final showdown with Doomsday. She is awesome in battle, has her own little theme, and after getting sent flying, just brushes herself off with a smile and gets back in there.
There isn't much joy in this film. Superman and Batman spend the whole film being angry. The picture above sums up the film. Even Clark Kent has the same miserable personality as Superman and spends his time moping or arguing with Perry White. The whole film is dark in tone and just literally dark most of the time. There is also a LOT of violence (Batman blows people up and stabs them, as well as nearly kills Superman). Where's the fun?
The opening scene, where Bruce Wayne witnesses his building being levelled by Superman and Zod in Man of Steel, is great. Subtitling it "Metropolis is introduced to the Superman" is a great way to set the tone of the film. Unfortunately, neither character seems to learn a lot from this experience, as a lot of Metropolis is smashed up again in the Doomsday fight, and then Batman has the bright idea of leading him back to Gotham to get the Kryptonite spear, rather than just going and getting the spear and bringing it back to the fight.
The reason for Batman sparing Superman is sketchy at best. Their mums shared a name. That's it.
Lois Lane doesn't have much to do in this movie, other than get taken hostage by terrorists, pushed off of buildings, need saving from drowning... oh and have a scene in a bathtub (this wasn't to put her in peril, it was just to get her naked). Even so, in a Batman dream-vision, the Flash cryptically says she's the key to everything... so Bruce Wayne then has no interaction with her in the film at all. Another thread that made no sense in this film. I know it's foreshadowing a future storyline, but why put it in here if Batman's just going to completely ignore it?
If you're still reading, you probably think that I hated the film! I didn't hate it, I just think it had a lot of problems. It just kind of left me cold. I didn't feel moved by Superman's death, although I knew I should be. Anyway, if this is a bad superhero movie, then we truly are spoiled for great ones these days. I think Zack Snyder makes visually impressive films but possibly doesn't understand the characters. Or he does, and just wants to make them completely different from previous versions. I don't know. I just know these aren't the heroes I grew up watching. Superman is cold, distant, angry at the world, and Batman is ultra violent (he brands criminals now) and obsessed with bringing down the one guy who tries to do the right thing. And Lex Luthor is a possibly autistic creepy guy with a babyface. Where is Gene Hackman, or even Kevin Spacey, when you need him?
And one last thing - why do movie trailers have to spoil so much of the movie? The only thing they didn't cram in was the death of Superman! I would have preferred the reveal of Wonder Woman to be a surprise at least.
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.