Monday, March 28, 2016

Movie Review: "Batman vs. Superman"

This weekend, I went with both of my brothers to see "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice".

I went into the movie having read critical reviews that are mostly negative. The biggest complaint seemed to be the amount of material that was crammed into the film. People seemed to think the story was disjointed, and that they tried to tell too many stories in one movie.

As the title reveals, this movie was meant as introduction to the DC comics super-team: The Justice League. After seeing the successes of the Marvel franchise that led to epic multi-movie storylines such as the Avengers, Civil War, and Infinity War, it is clear that DC is rolling out a similar cinematic approach.

Despite the negative reviews, I actually enjoyed "Batman vs. Superman" overall. The actors playing the main heroes (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) did a great job bringing their characters to life. As I wrote in my review of "Man of Steel", I liked that movie and Henry Caville's portrayal of Superman. Although she wasn't in it as much as the title characters, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was a good representation that showed the power of the Amazonian warrior. Ben Affleck's version of Batman surprised me, because I thought it was the best portrayal of The Dark Knight in any movie, so far. "Batman Begins" was okay, but I personally thought the other movies with Christopher Nolan & Christian Bale were crap. All the older ones were pretty hokey.

My biggest complaint about this movie had to be Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. He played Superman's arch-nemesis as a long-haired, neurotic, bizarrely-behaved rich kid who ran his deceased father's tech corporation. Lex Luthor always seemed to me like a bald version of Donald Trump- a more mature, wealthy, conniving, and arrogant businessman.

Although he played a villain that's easy to hate, and he loses his hair at the end of the movie, Eisenberg's version of Luthor stood out as the only thing I really disliked about the film.

I only had a few other minor complaints: Doomsday should've had more spiky protrusions, Lois Lane still bothers me as a redhead instead of her dark hair in the comics, and the way Doomsday was created was sloppy & not as good as the comic book story. I prefer when they stick closely to the comic book representations of characters in these movies.

There were some interesting themes in the movie, like humanity's reaction to an alien presence that has the potential to destroy our civilization. Superman is viewed through the dichotomy of our current political climate, where everything can be seen to have at least 2 opposing perspectives attached to it. Some people view the Kryptonian Kal-El as a powerful savior for humanity, while others see him as a dangerous & existential threat to the world.

The movie combined elements of two stories I read as a kid, "The Dark Knight Returns" and "The Death of Superman". Even though these are very different works of comic fiction, they were somehow merged into Batman v Superman. The end result worked well enough for my entertainment, and I thought it was much better than I anticipated.  Although I knew how it was handled in the comics, I wondered how a fight between Batman & Superman could possible be believable, considering the disparity of power. Of course, there was Kryptonite involved, but their battle was still handled in a way that didn't seem completely far-fetched. Their rivalry doesn't last long, as there are more immediate threats that they have to join together to overcome.

I think the critics have been overly-critical on this one, and found myself really liking this movie. If you like the characters or superhero films, in general, I would definitely recommend "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice".

• The Monkey Buddha's Official Rating: 8 out of 10

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