Monday, March 28, 2016

Looking at Movies (First Run) - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I am glad I had some time to sleep on this review before I wrote it because my original review was going to be merciless. Let me just start off by saying that if this is the movie that DC is going to hang its hat on as the launch of its Justice League series, then it may want to re-think some of its strategy. Whatever possessed DC to think it could compete with the Avengers Universe could be the same thought process that bankrupts the company.

I am not saying any of this to be mean, I am just being realistic. As much of a Marvel fan as I am, Batman is my favorite superhero. I lamented the day that Christian Bale stopped being Batman and cringed at the thought of Ben Affleck taking over this role (When I talk about Batman, my wife knows I am talking about Bale.). Thankfully, Affleck was not the reason this movie was terrible. But he certainly did not help.

This is an abomination of a superhero movie that looks like it was written to try and re-develop many of the main characters. The Batman character in this movie is almost unrecognizable. Affleck does what he can with what he is given, but what he is given is confusing and jumbled. Little details like Batman shooting bad guys to death and even swearing are out of place. Why is DC trying to re-invent its most popular character when it doesn't need to?

What I did like about Batman in this movie is what Affleck did to put his own twist on the character. As Bruce Wayne, Ben Affleck was superb. The producers of this movie wanted a Batman with a muscle-bound silhouette and Affleck delivered that. Affleck was intense as Batman, and he showed the never-say-die spirit Batman has.

The first 90 minutes are a mish-mash of what seems like random scenes loosely tied together by the thinnest of strings. If you like slow-motion shots of bullet casings exiting a gun, then you will go crazy over this movie. The movie opens with what has to be the 10th or so interpretation of the Batman origin story, which offers absolutely nothing new. From there, the movie loses focus.

One of the things I found strange about this movie is the way in which Batman and Superman are switched around when it comes to their emotions. Batman is the clear thinker who is focused and on his game, while Superman is conflicted and irrational. It doesn't make sense, and I would think even hardcore DC fans would have to agree with that.

While I cringed at the thought of Affleck playing Batman, I have to admit that he does pull it off well. Henry Cavill remains the perfect Superman in that he is an actor who can remain completely boring, even while doing an action scene. Aside from Affleck and Cavill, the casting for this movie is horrible.

Batman v Superman is supposed to be a sequel to Man of Steel (2013), but the writers managed to throw in details here and there that are not even hinted at in Man of Steel. Did you know that Metropolis and Gotham City are like San Francisco and Oakland in that they are opposite sides of a huge bay? In all of my years of watching DC cartoons and reading DC comics, I don't remember ever seeing that Gotham and Metropolis were in such close quarters. I'm not saying that this idea is not part of the Justice League universe, I am just saying that after seeing every Superman and Batman movie ever made, this geographic piece of information is news to me.

Laurence Fishburne, in my opinion, is a talented actor that is not used properly at all in this movie. He stomps around the newsroom like a cliche news editor and never changes character (Fishburne offered Perry White a lot more range in Man of Steel). It was almost embarrassing to watch Fishburne in this movie after seeing him in films such as Othello and even What's Love Got To Do With It. When a director has talent in his cast, he should maximize that talent.

This movie makes leaps not even Evel Knievel would have attempted. Of course you suspend disbelief with a superhero movie, but there needs to be a sense of logic. The amount of nonsensical material in this movie made it difficult to follow. And when did Wonder Woman get an accent? When you add the absolutely horrible casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, you get quite a mess.

Batman is an old man, and Lex Luthor is a young kid. Batman is focused and calculating, and Superman is off his nut. The quick scenes with the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg were pretty cool, but not enough to save the movie. Between butchering the very basics of two of the most famous superheroes ever made and creating a story that felt like they were making it up on the spot as they filmed it, I would say that DC is not off to a very good start with its Justice League universe.

Rating: 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a drive-in maniac who is well aware of the fact that you probably disagree with his opinion. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at