Saturday, March 26, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Review

Written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
Directed by Zack Snyder

First thing I’ll say here is that the critics have bashed this movie left, right, up, down, and diagonally, but it’s far better than Man of Steel, which is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

Did I hate Batman v Superman?  No.  I actually enjoyed parts of it.  Did I love it?  No.  The vast majority of it doesn’t work on a basic story level.

The good: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  She’s not in the movie much, but she’s damn fine as Wonder Woman.  Not only is she gorgeous, but she makes you believe her.  So I’m looking forward to seeing the Wonder Woman movie.  I predict it will be excellent.  Why?  Because as I type this, only one writer has credit for the script (always a good sign), and because Patty Jenkins is directing (she directed Monster).

The good continued: Ben Affleck as Batman.  Affleck plays Batman in the dark Frank Miller sense, and Batman takes a page from the Punisher’s playbook in this mess.  According to IMDb, Affleck will star in, direct, and co-write a new Batman solo flick.  That one will likely kick ass.

Henry Cavill does fine as Superman.  Actually, most of the acting is decent considering the material.  It can’t be easy to deliver some of the truly horrible dialogue, but the actors carry most of it off well enough that you just remind yourself it’s a comic book movie and you’re fine.

On the acting front, Jesse Eisenberg, who was terrific in The Social Network, was horribly miscast as Lex Luthor.  I suspect he showed up, did as he was told, collected his paycheck and went home with enough money that he can say no to a lot of crappy scripts and find something he really wants to do instead.

I haven’t read the screenplay, and I have no idea who rewrote whom here, but I suspect the good parts were written by Chris Terrio and the awful parts were written by David S. Goyer.  Why do I say that?  Because Terrio wrote Argo on his own, and it was terrific, while David S. Goyer is the sole screenwriter on the ultimate piece of shit movie Man of Steel, which I hate more than any other movie I’ve ever seen.  That movie sucked big green donkey dicks and then expected you to suck them too.  Goyer has done good work in the past (the first Blade movie, Dark City, Batman Begins), so he does have talent.  Maybe it’s Superman that makes him turn out clunker lines and moronic plots.

Zack Snyder’s directing here leaves a lot to be desired.  I’m not sure if they shot a six hour movie and had to edit it down to three hours so important pieces are missing or what.  The film needs connective tissue to get the story to unfold in any reasonable way.  Then again, what story there is in this flick is beyond stupid.  Batman hates Superman because Superman killed a lot of people in his battle with Kryptonians at the end of that aforementioned piece of shit Man of Steel, which is still and probably always will be the worst movie I’ve ever had inflicted on me.  Yes, I need to get in touch with my feelings about that stupid flick.  Superman hates Batman because Batman brands criminals with a bat.  After a long time with all sorts of things happening that don’t really amount to much, Superman and Batman are forced to fight, and Batman has some Kryptonite so he isn’t just squashed right off the bat (sorry).  I’m going to give a spoiler here, but you can read it and you’ll think I’m pulling your chain, but this is actually a major plot point.  Batman forgets all about hating Superman and decides they’re going to be best buddies because … are you ready for this? … their mothers are both named Martha.  I shit you not.  If Superman’s foster mother had been named Brenda, all bets would be off.  This is the level of motivation used in this movie.  Aww, isn’t that cute?  It’s all good, Supes.  I’ll save your Martha.

One of the big problems with movies like this, and most action movies shot by Hollywood directors, is that the action tends to be shot in close-up and edited together so you can’t see what the fuck is going on.  Hollywood, please rent some Jackie Chan Hong Kong movies.  Look at the Police Story movies or the Project A movies or the Armour of God movies or Drunken Master II, or damn near anything Jackie does in Hong Kong.  Notice that the action is shot with the camera back far enough that you can actually see what’s happening?  Get away from the cut, cut, cut, cut, cut and just let the camera roll.  Pan along a bit, and keep the action in the damn frame!

Okay, I went into this movie with extremely low expectations.  After all, the trailers made the movie look truly awful.  I had no interest in seeing it.  But then some fanboys geeked out over how much they loved it, and I decided to review some movies so I’d have something to post on my blog.  On top of that, I have MoviePass, which means it didn’t cost me anything extra to see this (other than my time, which probably would have been better spent working on my latest novel).

So the critics have slammed it, but a lot of comic book people will still enjoy it.  This movie is critic-proof.  Here’s the deal, if you don’t mind comic book movies that are dark and without intentional humor, and you don’t mind turning off your brain enough to accept that no matter where Superman is, he will instantly appear when Lois Lane gets tossed off a building, and if you don’t mind that the main villain, well, sorta the main villain, has zero motivation, but likes to talk a lot and gets people to give him things like crashed spaceships in exchange for cherry Jolly Ranchers (I am not making that up), and if you don’t mind scenes played out in odd order and without any narrative flow, you might enjoy this movie more than I did.  And if you can read that sentence in one breath quickly and in Jesse Eisenberg’s voice, you’re all set.

I feel like I should give this movie an F or maybe a D-, but I liked Affleck, and Gal Gadot is terrific, and it wasn’t as bad as Man of Steel, the worst movie of the century.  So I’ll give it a C-.

1 comment:

  1. So, how do you *really* feel about Man of Steel, Gary?