• Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

    From Tim Skirvin@21:1/5 to All on Thu Mar 31 08:38:19 2016
    XPost: rec.arts.movies.current-films

    Summary: it's terrible. Don't see it.

    It's almost hard to believe that _Batman v Superman_ is so bad a
    movie as it turned out to be. Sure, the trailers were bad, the early
    reports were awful, and the reviews have been apocalyptic; but the cast was strong, the budget was more than adequate, and Zack Snyder has proven
    capable of at least basic mediocrity in the past. Unfortunately, Snyder managed to make his worst film yet.

    The plot fits into three major stories: a Superman movie involving
    Lex Luthor and a personal crisis of faith based on how the world perceives
    him; a Batman origin movie asking how far he will go to protect his world
    when the rules change; and a superhero-vs-monster summer blockbuster
    tent-pole. None of these plots were *unworkable*, but none were given a
    chance to breathe; rather, these plots were tossed into a blender, parts scooped out more-or-less randomly, and placed into sequential order, plus
    or minus a few dream sequences. What comes out is tonally, thematically,
    and (oddly) visually inconsistent and jittery. It just plain doesn't fit together; the stories undermine each other, the protagonists never have a chance to do anything but react, and we're never given a chance to even
    think about what's going on.

    The actors are mostly acceptable. Ben Affleck plays an okay Batman
    and a pretty-good Bruce Wayne; Henry Cavill is still a perfectly acceptable Superman; Gal Gadot is given little enough characterization to make her kick-ass moments, well, kick ass; Amy Adams may have had her character
    become a victim, but she at least tries to make something of her role; and Jesse Eisenberg, well, his Lex Luthor is a frigging embarrassment, but
    that's mostly the writing's fault, at least he tried. As for the secondary cast, well, they don't get enough screen time to be relevant, so it's best
    not to worry much about poor Laurence Fishburne or Holly Hunter.

    The visuals were in large part based on _The Dark Knight Returns_, which is iconic for a reason; and much of the time they were at least
    workable, if not inspired. There was one Batman fight scene that reminded
    me of the _Arkham Asylum_ series of video games, which was worth something;
    and the otherworldly movements of Superman were eerie and messianic in an impressive way. But the fight scenes were pretty much terrible, in the same way as in _Man of Steel_, where the only real way that we can keep track of who's winning a fight is with hit point bars.

    Some good points: well, they showed the _Captain America_ trailer before the movie, does that count? I liked Alfred. Oh, and _LEGO Batman_ looks cool.

    Some bad points:

    * The timeline didn't work, in a rather lazy fashion. We had things like there being time for a congressional hearing before Superman was able
    to return from an African nation, or weeks of Superman "lost in the
    wilderness" while nothing else happens at all. I don't like it when things
    go too fast *and* too slow.

    * The "Superman as Jesus vs Devil" thing was clearly the focus of a
    lot of discussion, but Snyder failed to actually come to any *conclusions* about it except that it made for the occasional interesting visual. Take a side, man!

    * There's a part in the movie where we watch Youtube videos
    introducing other DC Universe superheroes. They were vaguely interesting,
    but were handled *terribly*. I think that they would have made a good DVD special feature; instead, they were tossed into an already-too-long film, breaking what flow we had finally managed to put together.

    Some more bad points: there was a *lot* of casual cruelty for a
    movie marketed at children. Snyder managed to make Batman into both a
    passive puppet and a cruel torturer and murderer. Holly Hunter made up the entirety of Congress. Neil Degrasse Tyson put his face in this movie on purpose. Nobody knows how to flee from an apocalypse. After spending the whole movie complaining about the property damage done to Metropolis in the first movie, we end up doing *more* property damage in this movie.


    Snyder killed a major Superman character in the first 10 minutes of
    the movie just to show off how "gritty" he could be. Batman is a terrible detective. The Daily Planet gets its news from CNN. The government just *gives* Lex Luthor the body of General Zod from the first movie; and
    Kryptonian security is a joke. They didn't even bother to explain why Lex Luthor is insane.

    *breathe again*

    There were ~6 endings and ~3 beginnings. Too many dream sequences. Lex's plot was about 3x more complicated than necessary. That network tap.
    Why didn't Wonder Woman get to do more? And...

    Okay, I should stop.

    Rating: 2/10 (* 1/2 out of 4); I think I've managed to avoid seeing
    any worse superhero movies to date, and hopefully this will help remind me
    in the future.

    - Tim Skirvin (tskirvin@killfile.org)
    http://wiki.killfile.org/ Skirv's Homepage <FISH>< <*> http://wiki.killfile.org/reviews/movies Skirv's Movie Reviews

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