Talking movies, music and other close encounters of the social media kind.
My review of this movie can be summed up in two questions.
The first question is:
“Why, so serious?”
As I recall the line Heath Ledger as the Joker said in ‘The Dark Knight’.
The second question is:
“Why, so boring?”
And there you have my general summation of this latest Superhero blockbuster, Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
But by Holy Cow & Krypton, this is BATMAN against SUPERMAN! Two iconic superhero heavyweights. The match-up equivalent of Ali v Frazier. Skywalker v Vader. DeNiro v Pacino. It could’ve been billed as ‘The Rumble in The Concrete Jungle’, ‘The Thrilla in Metropolis!’ The movie title alone builds up the hype and promise – to the greatest superhero fight of the century. The Caped Crusader against the Man Of Steel. That alone was enough to buy a prized ticket and get a good ringside seat.
But when I saw the first trailer for it – I cringed. Oh dear.
This really doesn’t look any good.
And thus, my suspicions turned out to be true when I saw it on a Good Friday afternoon, at a packed Embassy Theatre. It’s a suffocating, overblown mess of a movie.
There’s nothing new or game-changing about this latest Superhero offering from Zack Snyder – the director behind the last Superman outing – Man Of Steel.
If anything, this film is even more dark in tone than its predecessor. So dark is this film, I longed for at least a bit of humour and comedy. Like Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Ned Beatty from the 1978 original Superman movie, Or even the hammy portrayal of the Joker by Jack Nicholson in the 1989 Batman.
But no. It was dark, brooding and too damn serious for its’ own good. Nothing really happens for an hour and a half, just a lot of confusing exposition and dream sequences that are not always clear. Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman (played by a grizzled Ben Affleck) agonises and seeks revenge on Superman, his motivation stirred on by Superman destroying Metropolis during his battle with General Zod – and in the process, causing huge collateral damage – killing innocent human bystanders (which included Waynes’ work colleagues at his building).
At least the writers highlighted this human cost as a moral quandry, which Superman (played by a very wooden Henry Cavill) struggles with throughout the entire film. It’s a great idea, but the film does not pursue it any further. But that alone is not enough to make this film interesting. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is reduced to just playing bystander, and damsel in distress – who’s always getting saved by Superman, and Jesse Eisenbergs’ Lex Luthor is more a bloody nuisance than a great evil villain. He’s definitely no Gene Hackman or Kevin Spacey. If he was the comic relief, he fails at it miserably. Jeremy Irons provides a little bit of humour as Alfred the ‘Mechanic DIY’ Butler who not so much as serve tea, as throw a spanner – tinkering on Bruce Waynes’ Batmobile and his array of hi-tech weapons.
Only Gal Gadots’ Wonder Woman beams a surprising bright light in this rather dark and gloomy state of affairs. Everyone else is too caught up in the depressing nature of it all. In the end, Superman just ends up being a bit of a wimp, and Batmans’ just an angry old man dressed up in a batsuit that looks like its’ on steroids.
Through its’ confusing and boring first half – it slowly (and painfully) builds up to the big fight between the two superheroes. About bloody time. Its’ what the paying audience have come to see. It’s what the little kid next to me who yawned and dozed off at the start, was waiting to see in his oversized 3D glasses. But when the super-battle for the ages happens, even though it is big and spectacular – for me, it falls empty and void. Its’ a fight you’ve seen so many other movies ago, but executed so much better. From the Neo v Agent Anderson fights from The Matrix trilogy, to the many Marvel movie battles of the Avengers Iron Man v Thor, Thor v Hulk etc. This super-fight, that’s built up to be so glorious and epic…just simply isn’t.
And to add insult to injury, they go and create a Lord Of The Rings-type cave troll for the final battle. Really? When this Doomsday beast (made out of Kryptonite and Lex Luthors’ blood) turns up at the climax of the film – I was waiting for Gandalf the Grey to suddenly turn up and yell ‘You Shall Not Pass!’
Holy cow and bat crap. I started to cringe. So too the little kid who sat next to me. He just rolled his eyes underneath his oversized 3D glasses. looking at him, I could imagine what he was thinking: “After all that dark and boring stuff, sure the fight was big, but I’ve seen this all before…SO WAS THAT IT? “
I enjoyed Man Of Steel when it came out three years ago. It was a bold take on the Superman legend, had a great Hans Zimmer soundtrack which made it soar and presented the Son of Krypton as one epic superhero. Here, he is sadly reduced to second billing and merely a supporting player to Batman. I guess the green Kryptonite really got to him in this one.
As much as I admit to being a movie-geek, I’m definitely not a comic-book one. So I’m sure comic fans (like Vaughan) will see things in this movie and will love it. I certainly did not.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe have got the balance just right (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Guardians Of the Galaxy) with their mix of story, action & humour.
The DC cinematic universe? not so much. Especially with this dud of a film. If they’re going down the dark and serious route with their films (especially with the release of the Justice League next year) just to differ themselves from Marvel – then they may have already lost the battle of the superhero franchises.
It’s a great shame they’ve used their two greatest superheroes, and reduced them to such dull and depressing characters.
Dawn of Justice? More like ‘Yawn’ for me I’m afraid.