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Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v Superman Movie Review


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly delivers on the hero-on-hero fisticuffs its title promises and then some. Too bad good storytelling was sacrificed to get it.

After the events of Man of Steel, Superman (Henry Cavill) has become a hero to some, and a threat to humanity in the eyes of people like Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck), who fears what this all-powerful alien can do and has vowed to take down Superman once and for all. The setup to the brawl of the century is simple enough, and Affleck's angst sells his motivations well. But it's such a one-sided affair, and Superman is never really given a say before he's thrown under the bus.


Really, the biggest casualty of it all is Superman, whose character assassination is all but complete in BvS. Mopey and emo in his human alter-ego and cold and distant in his alien one, Superman in BvS is such a sad, wet blanket of a character that you have absolutely no reason to root for him here. It doesn't help that his reputation is systematically dismantled throughout the film to the point that he doesn't even have time to redeem himself, so when the movie comes to a close and the people miraculously start believing in Superman again, it feels forced and totally un-earned.


Let's be clear: Batman v Superman feels more like a Batman movie than anything else, and boy did they make sure this is a Batman to remember. Ben Affleck is compelling as Bruce Wayne and absolutely intimidating and cool as Batman, who made me believe he can pick a fight with the Man of Steel...and win.


Massive props must also be given to Gal Gadot, who effectively silenced haters worldwide with her  satisfying portrayal of Wonder Woman. Embracing her Amazon side with the confidence of a warrior and a smile that would melt even the hardest of hearts, Wondy here is a breath of fresh and fun air amidst all this grittiness.

But even if you've got all these powerhouses on-screen, it won't matter if the plot doesn't serve them well. Batman and Superman's motivation for fighting each other is paper-thin at best, and it's hilarious how they easily throw it out the window for the inevitable superhero team up at the end. Also, the story often stops dead to promote DC's future Justice League series of films in cryptic scenes that are out of place in all this seriousness and will probably confuse non-comic book fans.


In the film's climax, Snyder and co. throw away the plot points of the last two hours to go full comic book movie mode, hitting you with a barrage of over-the-top superhero action and wanton destruction. Every punch, every clash sends shock waves and lightning strikes that decimate the surrounding area (which, we're conveniently and often reminded, is abandoned/evacuated *wink wink*) and made the whole brawl hard to follow. But I have to admit, seeing Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman team up to take down the monster and save the day was what we've been waiting for all these years, an itch finally scratched, and even I have to admit it felt good.

At the end of the day, Batman v Superman is not that bad a film. It gave us comic book fans the DC Trinity in live action and the best Batman yet, but the road it took to get to this point is filled with p(l)ot holes and bad choices. It's easy to love this movie...if you're willing to suffer the bumpy ride.
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