Saturday, March 26, 2016

Black versus Blue. God versus Man. Day versus Night.


There are many things to talk about re: Batman vs Superman. There’s the plot, the acting and the action. I’ll say right off the bat that this movie is good (3.5/5) but it is a bit bloated at times and I definitely believed it could have been trimmed and still succeed as a great superhero movie.


Characters:
First, Batman.
I loved how they introduced Batman’s story without taking up too much time. For those 5 people who were not familiar with Bruce Wayne’s backstory and how he became Batman, it was a great introduction that led us straight into the present-day weary angry Bruce Wayne. He was the one that started the philosophical debate of whether Earth needed a God (a hero) named Superman. “God vs Man,” as Lex Luthor spouts. It’s an interesting debate that sprinkled the entire movie from beginning to end. I believe this was needed in a world where Gods fly from above and hold lightning bolts in their hands. It was well done but took up a lot of screen time. The first half of the movie is focused solely on this debate without too much action as we learn what Superman and his friends have been up to in the last 18 months. It needed to be included but it needed to be trimmed.


Superman.
I loved seeing how Superman has come along in 1.5 years as he and Lois are living together and maintaining what I consider a very mature relationship; in that he doesn’t try to stop her from doing her job and she doesn’t try to stop him from being Superman (when he needs to be). There’s a great maturity and respect that I love about this relationship. And I cannot wait to see where it goes in Man of Steel 2.


Lois Lane.
As much as the critics complain about her always getting into trouble and needing rescue, they forget that it’s just her character, that’s what she does, that’s who she is. She goes after the big stories and gets into trouble. Read a comic book. They stayed true (perhaps to a fault) to her character. But, she always shows us her bravery and courage when fighting the good fight. She never backs down. That’s also her character. I think her character was well-written and the love story of Lois and Clark was portrayed extremely well in this movie. It wasn’t shoved in our faces but it did show us what we already knew; that Superman loves Lois and puts her above all else. That was true to their story and I felt it added to this movie. You can’t have Superman without Lois Lane. She was his voice of reason and hope.


Lex Luthor.
Crazy Lex. Jesse, you did it again. You captured the essence of Lex with a line, a word, a facial expression and a very creepy smile. Luthor’s version of bedtime stories would give adults nightmares. Very well cast. I can’t say enough of this Lex.
Granny’s peach tea? I feel I need to re-watch that scene again as I am certain I missed something very vital to the story. (Relates to the Senate Chamber blowing up – spoiler alert).


Wonder Woman.
I loved Wonder Woman in this movie. I loved how they introduced her story without giving away too much. It certainly sets up well for her own feature movie and makes me very excited for the Justice League Movie. The three SuperFriends fighting Doomsday at the end was pure gold. Wow. Can’t wait for the next movie.


Cameos and Others.
I loved the unexpected cameo of Jonathan Kent. He came at a time when Clark needed his father and it was a wonderful surprise to see him provide his son with wisdom. Martha Kent was also the voice of reason in this movie. More so, as a mother who’s afraid for her son’s safety. She gave us another side of the argument with reason and calm and absolute finality. “You’re either their hero or you’re not.“ Certainly gave Superman pause.


Alfred was delightful as always. A sounding board for his Master when needed and quite the expert at fixing Batman’s toys when Bruce broke them. Which he did a lot. Lol. And than goodness for his sarcasm. This movie is dark and serious and not-so humorous. But Alfred allowed us a little levity once in a while.


Action:
Let’s talk about the action. Good grief. Where to begin. Batman was a tour-de-force in this movie. Most of the fighting belonged to him and it was usually him against many….lol. And, of course, he won..mostly. One of the fights was a nightmare so it probably doesn’t count. But still, have to give credit to the stunt co-coordinators; these fight scenes were intense and off-the-wall. They were really well done. Particularly, the final battle of Batman vs Superman and SuperFriends vs Doomsday. To be fair, Batman cheated. I’m just going to put that out there. The only way to beat Superman was to cripple him with kryptonite. That’s the only way he would’ve won and we all knew it. And so did he. ‘nough said. I really loved how he couldn’t fight Superman once Kent pleaded to save his Mother and literally, in two breaths, became his best friend. That was the best! I never put together the fact that both their Mother’s name was Martha!. Duh. Anyway, apparently that’s all it takes to make two enemies, friends. I buy it.


Now, let’s talk about the ultimate fight (that was clearly stolen from the Death of Superman comic). Clearly. But whatever. It is what it is. And it was spectacular. First, I obviously never knew how strong Wonder Woman was because she held her own while Bruce Wayne was being thrown about like a beach ball (very entertaining to watch). You sometimes forget he’s a human in a metal suit. So, they’re battling it out until…wait for it…Superman has to save Lois…lol. Like, we ain’t got time for that!. But, it‘s ok because she found the spear of Krypton (which is the only thing that will defeat Doomsday). So, ok, take a break from battling DoomsDay and go save her. Because then, you get the spear. And you say goodbye….I can’t even talk about what comes next. Did they really just go there in this movie??? I admit to gasping out loud and holding my hands over my mouth in shock. I did not think they would kill Superman. I did not. Nope. But, and this only came to me later, given that this was DoomsDay vs Superman (and friends), it stands to reason that they would follow the plot of the comic book and kill him off. That’s what happens. And the world would mourn Superman and ultimately decided they wanted their hero back. But, well he’s dead so boo on you. But, hey, at least now they all respect him.


Am I the only one who totally expected Superman to rise from the dead by the end of the movie?? Good grief, the movie just kept going and going and going then I just said well, hell just let him rise from the dead so these last 20 minutes would have been worth it. I mean, it is the weekend to rise from the dead (yikes!) Kind of disappointed it didn’t happen but looking forward to the Clark/Lois reunion in Man of Steel 2 or Justice League (whichever comes first). And I really really need to know how it happens. Didn’t anyone think of taking Superman’s body to the Fortress of Solitude? No? No one? Really?..ok whatever.


Plot:
There were a couple of plot-holes that was conveniently placed. I get Superman figured out who Bruce Wayne was (Batman) but how did Wayne figure out he was Clark when Lois came to his rescue.. . I got so lost. Everyone knew everyone’s else secret identity somehow.. I need to re-watch this movie..lol. And seriously, how did Perry White not know Clark Kent is Superman..the man conveniently disappears for a few days and he doesn’t put it together…not a very good reporter. And, really Kent should be fired…but whatever, he’s conveniently dead so we’ll forgive him.


And how did Lex Luthor find out Clark Kent is Superman? I know he has limitless resources but it would have been nice to hear a line, a conversation or a scene where Luthor discovers the Man of Steel’s real identity. Plot hole much?


There was so much going on in this movie, it definitely deserves a re-watch. I feel Zach Synder tried to fit a lot in this movie and mostly he succeeded. By using Batman as his voice of dissention, he was able to bring God vs Man, hero vs villain to a broader audience. This movie will surely be talked about for a long time to come.


Overall, I thought this movie was enjoyable and definitely set the stage for the future Justice League movie well without shoving it down our throats. It felt like this was the first part of a 3-part movie. The acting was good, the action and cgi were good and the plot was ok. I mean, it’s Lex Luthor wanting to take over the world story all over again so whatever. It’s been done and it was done here too. It was contrived but Lex sold it. Speaking of, Ben Affleck actually convinced me he’s been Batman all this time. He did an outstanding job. I was surprised (pleasantly) and he has good chemistry with Diana Prince. On a side note, doesn’t this Amazon warrior own her own plane? I kind of thought she did.


I need to give a shout-out to the sound and special effects people who make Superman fly. The swooshing every time he flies out or flies in at Mach (whatever it is now) was quite impressive. Literally made me believe that people can fly. There were quite a few stand-out moments in the movie where I cheered, or gasped out loud (in the good way) or just said WOW. There were moments and scenes that took my breath away and sucked me into believing everything that was happening was real. CGI has come a long way. Made me a believer. I can’t say the same about Wayne’s nightmares…those were just odd. Someone explain Bruce Wayne’s nightmares for me. They were very video-gamey like and weird. Very weird. What did it all mean?


Henry Cavill continues to impress, in the first half of the film as he battles his inner demons and, in the second half, as he battles his outer demons…lol. He’s got the dramatic chops and physicality to make Superman work and he does it with style and wit. This movie made me believe that Superheroes are real. And I want to live in that world.


3.5/5


P.S. Was this movie over-the-top? Yes. It relied too too much on dramatic flair to make a point or end a scene. A few eye-rolls were inevitable in such a heavy undertaking where Batman was made to look like a hero and Superman was made to look like a hero, all to great dramatic flair. Zynder has a flair for the melo-dramatic and it shows. I can forgive it as some of his shots were spectacular and mesmerizing. The shot where Superman stands alone in the exploded Senate house was haunting and Cavill was able to calmly display Superman’s anguish and despair in a very quiet and chilling scene. I applaud Synder for this intensely disquieting scene.


The meeting of Batman vs Superman was worth the hype. It was. These two have great on-screen chemistry and they both believed in what they were fighting for. It was definitely worth the wait for the final battle where they team up to fight Doomsday. It felt like Saturday morning watching the SuperFriends take on one of their many enemies and fighting together to save the planet. Ah, the good old days.


Although, to be fair. Batman was mad at Superman for killing innocent people but it seemed to me Batman killed a few too, in the process of killing the enemy. So, he’s kind of a hypocrite. Although, most of his anger was taken out on mercenaries, I still felt like his fight with Superman may have killed some innocent people as well. Just sayin. Kettle –> Pot.


This review was all over the place but then this movie was too. It certainly would have helped to edit some of the scenes and make them shorter or put them in different places. This movie could have flowed better overall but, much like Avengers: Age of Ultron, it tried to do too much but still gave us some great action and acting. I’ll be seeing it again. What did you think?


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