“There’s a lot to be worried about.”
March 23, 2016 12:56 PM Subscribe
A Comics Geek's Verdict on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by Jordan Hoffman [The Guardian] Ben Affleck is great and Wonder Woman nearly steals the show, but there’s plenty in Zack Snyder’s mash-up to make superfans fret. Including, film-maker’s Kryptonite!: very bad writing. [Warning: Reviews Contains SPOILERS!!]
I felt a similar sense of futility after seeing this two-and-a-half-hour jumble of a movie. Now, I’ll happily declare Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel to be a work of misunderstood genius. I’ll look at Marvel Studios’ ever-expanding slate of forthcoming films and cry out for more, more, more. But I can’t lie and call Batman v Superman a great movie. Not even for us superhero fans. It isn’t terrible, but considering it’s the foundation for the Justice League and standalone Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman movies to come, there’s a lot to be worried about.- Batman v Superman Review: This Movie Is a Crime Against Comic Book Fans. by Alex Abad-Santos [Vox]
The darkest moment of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a montage of Bruce Wayne, played by an emotive rectangle of muscle and tendons known as Ben Affleck, prepping for his Superman fight by doing CrossFit. The sequence takes place in the Batcave to ostensibly camouflage the sound of Wayne's weighted pullups and the percussion of steel weights dropped over and over. Wayne pushes a resistance sled — the kind you see in football movies like The Blind Side — and then swings a sledgehammer at a few tires. I don't completely understand how performing these exercises was supposed to help him defeat a bulletproof deity who can melt faces. But then again, I'm not really familiar with the latest in CrossFit trends.- Batman v Superman Asks Some Provocative Questions, but Forgets to Answer Them by Richard Lawson [Vanity Fair]
So, there is plenty of good in the film, much more than in Man of Steel. The moral keening of this new film seems largely inspired by the backlash to Man of Steel’s opera of annihilation, as if Snyder is himself grappling with the pervasive criticism that the increasingly massive, city-wide melees so popular among franchise films these days have begun to lose all sense of context. Batman v Superman takes stock of the genuine, human toll of its predecessor, opening the door for the deeper inspection of superhero-ness that gives the film its most gripping, provocative moments.- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Is an Unpleasant Endurance Test by Lesley Coffin [The Mary Sue]
But before too long, Snyder has shaken off the self-reflection and returned to the senseless clamor of before, bogging down Batman v Superman with an empty seriousness where, for a few inspired scenes, some actual thought has flickered tantalizingly. There is, nominally, a plot: Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, angry and withdrawn) doesn’t much like Superman, and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill, alabaster and cool to the touch) isn’t liking what he’s hearing about this vigilante Batman. Meanwhile, Lois Lane is investigating an attack meant to frame Superman as a bad guy (Amy Adams, one of our most talented American movie stars, does her noble best with a role that, at one point, forces her to say “I’m not a lady, I’m a journalist”), Congress is investigating, and a twitchy tech mogul named Lex Luthor is cooking up some sort of plot to shoot Superman out of the sky.
I want to make it clear (because I’m hearing a lot of angry fans getting upset): I didn’t dislike Batman v Superman because it isn’t as fun as the Marvel or X-Men universe. I can appreciate a movie attempting to be dark and serious, and there should be room for both kinds of movie. I disliked Batman v Superman because it is an unpleasant movie to sit through, lacks any emotional impact, and is clearly written just to kickstart a money-making machine for DC. Objectively, this is one of the ugliest movies I’ve ever seen, and I left feeling like I’d had just been yelled at by someone I don’t know on a bus. This is just a poorly made movie, and even fans of DC’s characters who are excited to see it should be upset at the way Zack Snyder and his writers Chris Terrio and David Goyer wasted a golden opportunity.- Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is As Inelegant as Its Title. by A. A. Dowd [A.V. Club]
Running the length of about seven Batman: The Animated Series episodes, Batman V Superman choppily races through plot, as the film works in a CIA coverup, a discovered lump of Kryptonite, a downed UFO, the body of Michael Shannon’s slain General Zod, glib echoes of real-world terrorism, and a second villain whose identity shouldn’t be disclosed. Relationships have no room to blossom or even reveal themselves. What’s it like, one must wonder, to date a being from beyond the stars? The New Adventures Of Lois & Clark spent four seasons answering that question, while Batman V Superman can barely spare the single scene necessary to explain that Kal-El (a.k.a. Superman, a.k.a. Clark Kent) is now living with Lois Lane (Amy Adams), who the film keeps sending on strictly expository Daily Planet assignments. Far too much time has to be reserved for laying Justice League groundwork, including shoehorned appearances by ageless Amazonian and future team player Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).- Batman v Superman Will Make You Hate Batman, Superman, and the Justice League by Helen O'Hara [GQ]
It says a lot of very depressing things about our world right now that this astonishingly dumb film has real-life parallels. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is the story of a self-important billionaire with a casual attitude to the truth, who becomes paranoid about a segment of the immigrant population. He decides to take brutal and - as it happens - entirely unjustified and even self-endangering action against that immigrant, to the benefit of a rich psychopath who wants to distract everyone from their own nefarious grasp at power.- Woman Woman Can't Save Dull "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by Kristy Puchko [Comic Book Resources]
But it's not all grim, grit and tedious monologues about father-son drama. There's also Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot appears, and it's like someone switched a light on. Batman and Superman battle with faces that suggest someone is forcing them to eat their vegetables. But when Wonder Woman shows up on the scene, she wields a confident smile alongside her shield. She loves being a warrior, and this detail gives the final fight scene some desperately needed life. Likewise, certain cameos make promises of movies that might some day break from Snyder's unrelentingly bleak atmosphere. But until then, we have this. Overambitious and overlong, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" aims to tell a collection of stories instead of focusing on one. In doing so, it underserves its classic characters, undercuts its battle scenes, and disrespects the audience who has been waiting decades to see this epic showdown on the big screen.- Yawn of Justice by Michael Phillips [Chicago Tribune]
Having killed thousands of innocent bystanders at the end of “Man of Steel,” high-flying alien Superman is now considered a pariah by many. Batman, meanwhile, has hardened into a boozy sociopath (a “criminal,” says Wayne himself) who wants to murder the alien invader with the “S” as badly as Lex Luthor, played by a skittery, occasionally amusing Jesse Eisenberg. Luthor wants to destroy them both. An hour into “Batman v. Superman,” you wonder: Can we just settle this little spat and move on to Gadot’s “Wonder Woman” movie?- Ben Affleck’s Got the Cool Car, But Wonder Woman Steals the Show by Alonso Duralde [The Wrap]
Genuine surprise is the rock-bottom agenda item for this latest offering from the TimeWarner-DC Comics juggernaut, since it’s been designed to launch the company’s own set of superhero team-up and solo adventures, following the trail blazed so successfully by the distinguished competition over at Disney/Marvel. Subsequently, we get a little Batman origin story — Martha Wayne’s pearls rain down on Gotham City’s Crime Alley just as sure as Rapunzel’s hair tumbles from her tower — and a little empire-building as well. (The movie all but hits the pause button for about five minutes to lay the groundwork for sequels to come.) And what of the title’s promised skirmish? That face-off between two comics legends becomes but one in a series of big things bashing into other big things, which is what Snyder and writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer mistake for storytelling. The trio do manage to cough up an acceptable number of ooh-that’s-cool moments, and fans who will be satisfied with those will be satisfied with those, but any other ideas and characters the movie might offer get lost in the rubble.- The Overstuffed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Builds a World, But Is It One We Want? by David Edelstein [Vulture]
It’s a shame that Batman v Superman is also a storytelling disgrace. It has maybe six opening scenes and jumps so incessantly from subplot to subplot that a script doctor would diagnose a peculiarly modern infection: “disjunctivitis.” Said infection is the upshot of a sort of gene-splicing. For a studio to move beyond the “franchise” and “tentpole” stages to the vastly lucrative “universe,” a comic-book movie must at every turn gesture towards sequels and spinoffs, teasing out loose ends, cultivating irresolution. The movie wanders into so many irrelevant byways that it comes to seem abstract. There’s enough going on to keep you watching — and, as I said, to keep fanboys wowed by the scale of the production and pretension. But most people will leave feeling drained and depressed, wondering how a studio can get away with withholding so much.
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