Wildly flawed, Mindlessly Enjoyable
Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016): Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It's up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.
Holy crap that IMDB description is long. Kind of like this movie. But we'll get to that. I want to first talk about the superhero genre. Bring it in, man. Let's chat. Let's be honest with each other: with the exception of Deadpool, there has not been a legitimately great superhero movie since The Dark Knight. I know. That's a lot of films I just threw under the bus. Or so you think. While there have definitely been a few bad apples in the bunch, most superhero films are fine. Some are even good! But that's it. They're mindless entertainment. See, when I go into a superhero movie, I don't expect to walk out of there having learned something. I don't expect the film to help me formulate an opinion. I don't expect a superhero film to be anything more than popcorn fun. And that's FINE. That is absolutely fine. Heck I loved Guardians of the Galaxy! That was an incredibly fun film. But does that mean I hold it in the same regard as Spotlight? Or Mad Max? Or Whiplash? No. I've reviewed many a film here on my blog, and it has made me quite cynical to corporate-mandated film making, and that's exactly what every superhero film since The Dark Knight (excluding Deadpool) has been. Including the Marvel films. Some are just more fun than others. Ok? Ok. So let's talk about Batman V. Superman.
So that IMDB description at the top of the review signifies a major problem with this film: it is way too long and convoluted. The film comes in at a staggering 2 hours and 30 minutes, but it could've easily come in under 2. Now just a friendly reminder I have no problem with long films: my favorite film of all time is the extended edition of The Return of the King (all 4.5 hours of it) but if you're going to be long you have to fill your film with worthwhile content. Batman V. Superman did not do this. There was a ridiculous amount of fluff right from the beginning, as the opening shot of the entire film is ANOTHER retelling of the murder of Batman's parents. But what's sad is this is one of the best scenes of the entire film because it's a very Zack Snyder-esque scene. I honestly expected Rorschach to have a monologue during this scene. I was disappointed by the lack this. But overall, the film is very convoluted as it attempts to clumsily tell three different story lines at once. There were plenty of moments that had me rolling my eyes, but there were plenty moments of.....oh what's the word? fun. This film is still fun.
Anyway, let's talk about some good first. I thought Ben Affleck was fine as Batman. I could tell he tried, and there's a reason he's a superstar actor. Henry Cavill is charismatic as ever, and Amy Adams is pretty good. But the ones who stole the show were Jesse Eisenberg and Gal Gadot. Yes, Eisenberg's motivations didn't make much sense, but remember the part where I said mindless entertainment? Eisenberg clearly had an absolute blast here in this role, and I couldn't help but smile whenever he was on screen. However there's no doubt Gal Gadot saves this film as Wonder Woman. She is amazing from start to finish delivering the female power character this world needs. DC officially has its Wolverine/Iron Man with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. That was an absolutely brilliant casting decision. On top of that, her fighting sequences were easily the most enjoyable part of this film, and her entrance into the fight was particularly awesome. Finally, the big action sequences were overall quite fun, embodying the mindless entertainment I was talking about earlier. Man I'm saying that phrase a lot huh?
But there are definitely plenty of problems here too. Pretty much any time things weren't blowing up and Eisenberg/Gadot weren't on screen this film had issues. I don't want to spoil anything, but let me just say motivations were muddy, some plot points were resolved in absolutely terrible ways that had me rolling my eyes on several occasions, and the film was way too long. Oh and Laurence Fishburne's character doesn't exist. Ever. That pretty much sums up the problems, but they were showing up at every turn throughout the film. But that's all I'll say here about them here. Ultimately, Batman V. Superman is..... fine. It is an average film. Nothing more, and nothing less. Is it worth seeing in theaters? I say yes, but to be fair I say that about lots of films. However at the end of the day I enjoyed myself watching this film. There were moments when I wanted things to just blow up on screen already, but I still had an overall good time while watching this one, as I do with most superhero films. Just....don't have high hopes. Because if you expect a good film you're not going to get it.
The Critique: While wildly flawed and overlong, Batman V. Superman is still a mindlessly fun popcorn flick featuring great performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Gal Gadot.
The Recommendation: Everyone is going to see this regardless, but if you've already seen 10 Cloverfield Lane then it is a fine film to see in the theater right now.
The Verdict: 5/10 Average.
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