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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I don't think I have ever set such a low bar for a movie. Every tidbit I came across in the days before I saw BvS confirmed the fears I had about its quality (or lack thereof). All I asked was that it wouldn't actually make me cry like Man of Steel nearly did. MoS wasn't just bad, it was wrong to the point of blasphemy if you hold Superman up high on a God-like pedestal like I do. I've also never been so nervous and apprehensive going into a movie.

Well, it didn't make me cry! I'm not saying the movie was good, far from it, but it was no worse than any other bad superhero movie of recent memory (Fantastic Four anyone?). Basically it was just a bit convoluted mess, of half baked plotlines and overstuffed action scenes. In other words, exactly what we've come to expect from director Zack Snyder.

Now I don't want to completely trash Snyder and say he's the worst director ever. The man did give us 300 afterall. But following that same formula does not translate to larger films. His MO is all style, no substance. And I'm sorry, but at this point in the game, we expect some substance from our superheroes.

I was thinking about it a bit more, and what separates Snyder and Josh Trank from directors like Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams is that the former approach their films like fanboys with shiny new toys to play with. Their focus is on seeing what cool things they can have their toys do, and they don't put much thought into why they're doing it. The later two have much more respect for the characters they're bringing to life. They approach their films from a place of love, wanting to honor the franchsie and help it grow. The end results are staggeringly different from both camps. I sincerely hope that the people behind these DC movies rethink letting Snyder take the reins for so long.

Despite the incoherent mess (and did we really expect anything other than?) there were a few bright spots, mostly in some new faces in the cast. I loved Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and I am now very much excited to see her have her own film (especially since she'll have a new director as well). Her scenes were all worth watching, even if I had to sit thru most of the 2.5 hours (ugh) to get there. We also had some glimpses of some of our other future Justice Leagers who I'm also stoked for. Yeah I'm basically echoing the criticism I heard that said BvS is essentially a really long trailer (with little payoff) for the next installments.

Our other newbies, Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg, I have mixed feelings on. I don't think Affleck was a bad choice, rather he's the one who made the bad choice. He is a far better actor than this movie deserves, and it's especially sad to see him fall so hard right when he was starting to be taken seriously in Hollywood. #Sadfleck. Eisenberg I thought made a fantastic villain, but not necessarily a fantastic Lex Luthor. It may be that I'm just more accustomed to the suave take on Lex that we got from Michael Rosenbaum or John Shea, which I prefer to the manic Gene Hackman, but Eisenberg went even farther into crazy. He seemed more like a Batman villain, which I suppose is fitting given that the Bat of Gotham was in this, but it was almost like he really wanted to be The Joker instead, so this was his audition.

Also mixed feelings about the attempt to course correct from one of the bigger criticisms of MoS, which was the mindless destruction of Metropolis. I liked that we addressed it head on at the start, and used it to fuel much of the story. But then we just kept on revisiting that thought without making any progress. Oh and there was also the drinking game-esque aspect of how often someone pointed out that their soon-to-be-battlefield was uninhabited. No really, we get it. Minimal collateral damage this time around.

Oh one quick gripe. We were nearly at the two hour mark when a character had a funny line and I realized, I hadn't laughed at all during the movie up to that point. There are several rants I could go on as to why it was a bad thing that there was no humor, but I go off on enough rants in this write up already.

I'm better on Henry Cavill than I was last time. He didn't really exactly have much going on to develop his character any further, but at least the material didn't regress him back to emo-Clark. I still don't know how I feel about the man who stands for truth, justice, and the American way being played by a Brit, but I'll let that slide. That's the least of this franchise's problems. Early parts in the film at least attempted to introduce some interesting thinking points on the son of Krypton, mostly around how his actions could be misinterpreted so that he wasn't quite the hero we think he is. But of course we didn't get too far into that idea before things just started blowing up and all character development was forgotten.

Not sure how much of a spoiler it is to mention the final villain that appears, so I'll leave his name out of it. While on the one hand I was happy to see someone other than Lex or Zod finally, on the other, he felt rather shoe-horned in. And then at the point I realized we were actually going there with a famous Superman storyline that I'd been wanting to see on film, it was quickly over and we had just rushed through it. Oh the frustration at the lost potential.

Yeah wasted potential pretty much sums it all up. Had we focused on any small piece of the film and really polished it, the tone of this review would be much different. But that's just not the world we live in.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - \m/ \n

PS - "Dawn of the Dead" totally cool. I'll take "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" or even "Red Dawn" or "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (Ice Age) . But don't you dare ever try to refer to me as "Dawn of Justice". That will end badly for you.
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