We all thought the “Orphan Fight” meme was amusing right? I mean, who’da thought the pivotal Batman fighting Superman (pushed into being by yet another orphan) moment would come down to the name of their mother’s staying the killing blow? I’m going to do my best to talk AROUND spoilers, but they may happen. So, this is your chance to not read any further if you don’t want the possibility of ANY spoilers from the new Warner Brothers clash of superhero titans film, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Still here? Are you sure? Ok then!
If you liked Man of Steel, I think there is a better chance of you enjoying this film, and of multiple viewings. There are some really nice nods to the previous films in the Nolanverse; the destruction of Wayne Manor, the broken Batsuit, some lines about “freaks in costumes” as well as a general feeling of normality for the Dark Vigilante of justice to take on larger than life personalities.
You cannot tell a new Batman story (yes yes, not ‘new’, just another timeline of an existing Batman) without the formulative moment in an alley for young Bruce Wayne. This is probably one of my favorite visual tellings of the death of the Waynes though, and that makes me sound like a terrible person. The iconic moment of Martha’s pearls being broken and tossed about reinvented this time with the action of the slide tearing the strand as the would be thief shoots her as they leave the movie theater. The choice to place this moment squarely in the early 1980s is interesting, and I kinda like the idea of the Waynes taking young Bruce to see Excalibur, the influence the film had on him possibly shaping his love of encasing armor. I will admit to yelling out a “WHAT THE FRAK” when Bruce, as is shown in almost every origin story, falls into the cave with the bats. They swarm around him at his disturbance, bringing the light into their darkness, and they create a tube of wind (I guess) that carries him back up through the tunnel. I mean HOW? Why is this a thing someone thought made sense?
In picking a “weak” point, a toss up between the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex (more on that in a bit) and the Batvoice, SPECIFICALLY the whole “Do you bleed?” line. We all kind of knew that would be a make-or-break thing, and it still left me thinking of a Taken hostage situation rather than an intimidating hero. I guess I can’t even say hero, since Bruce himself says he and Alfred are “the bad guys”, “the villains” more than once. He sounded muffled rather than gritty, the deep baritone going into animalistic digital growls rather than an intimidating tone.
Wonder Woman had some nice action shots, but they were outweighed by the fancy hair flip shots. Soft focus and glamor in the midst of a battle are NOT the way to show her, guys. She gets some nice hits in on Doomsday (who does evolve as the fight goes on, so yes there will be large bone spikes), but the fear of showing her bloody and battlebroken outweighed the shiny and bronze scene. This was more an inclusion to show she’s kicking around in the universe, rather than the true introduction this character deserves and needs.
I will maintain my position that Eisenberg is a terrible Lex, but a good performance from him with an interesting script. His babbling about God I think will piss some people off, as he DOES get very passionate about what God and man’s relationship is. His muscle twitches were believable, and I wanted to slap him at least six times. So, job well done I guess?
This film also brings some very strange dream sequences. That thing we see in the trailer of the soldiers beating the crap out of Batman and then bowing to Superman? Yeah, that’s a dream. As is Clark seeing Jonathan Kent at the top of a snowcapped mountain out by the Fortress of Solitude. But Batman’s dream in the desert with armored vehicles and large men fighting complete with a JunkieXL piece of score? Way to appeal to my Mad Max: Fury Road withdrawals, Zack Snyder. I mean that with all appreciation, as the pairing of Hans Zimmer (#ZimmerRules) and JunkieXL was absolutely brilliant, and did the bridging between the Nolan Batman movies and Man Of Steel with throbbing drums and biblical choirs.
My biggest cheer moment was the opening of the super secret LexCorp folders containing videos and images of the “Metahumans”. We all know what that means, right? Ok then. We get our first look at the upcoming Justice League members in this universe; a photo from 1938 of Wonder Woman with Steve Trevor and their team, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and Jason Mamoa as Aquaman. From this scene alone, I can tell you my expectations and excitement for the Aquaman movie (which were already pretty high) jumped up another six pegs.
The fight sequences are pretty damn good, Batman’s style coming to life right from the page, down and dirty and not afraid to cause harm to the badguys. Henry Cavill as Superman continues to be (at least to me) the perfect modern choice for Kal El, his natural boy-scout innocent charm behind that chiseled chin. I really can’t say whether Gal Gadot was a good choice for Wonder Woman, as there is almost zero character. She talks, sure, but not about anything of note. She is almost ornamental in her presence here, rather than the inflammatory glue that brings the boys together.
But if you still have issues with the destruction of Metropolis from Man of Steel, then prepare yourself for Batman’s reign of breaking things in Gotham. Seriously, he has no qualms about driving his armored roller through entire buildings and shooting his high powered guns wherever he wants. “The port is largely empty”, ok, but what about your driving through the streets at breakneck speeds and crashing through ground floors? Don’t complain about one thing but not the other. The destruction was real, the hype less so.
There are so many little nods to the character’s comic history, I can’t possibly name them all without at least a second viewing. Pretty sure this film will do well at the box office, despite the poison filled reviews sprouting up like mushrooms in the dark dung covered floor of the internet. A very solid 7 out of 10, and I would see it again.
On a personal note, I would absolutely love to see a cut of this film without dialog, the 2.5 hour timestamp notwithstanding.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens worldwide March 25th, 2016.