Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice - Movie Review

Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Harry Lennix and Scoot McNairy.
Written by Chris Terrio & David S. Goyer.
Directed by Zack Snyder.


How to explain the most controversial movie of the year? It's not that bad, but it's not that good either.

For my money, the best Zack Snyder movie is Watchmen. Watchmen was a dense graphic novel, and Snyder was as faithful to it as about anyone possibly could be. I liked his artistry with that, and the darkness of the characters lent itself to Snyder's style. I also liked Dawn of the Dead. I also liked 300. I thought his Owls of Ga'Hoole movie was challenging.

But when he had his chance to make something wholly original, he came up with Sucker Punch, which exposed every flaw that better material had managed to hide.

Now I thought Man of Steel was okay the first time I saw it. The second time around, I hated it. The moroseness, the resurrection of Zod rather than going somewhere new, the destructo-porn finale.

Snyder, in ways, is trying to make up for the sins of Man of Steel, but it's as though he learned the wrong lessons. He's trying to bend the beginning of the Justice League into another Watchmen.

BvS has a lot in common with Amazing Spider-Man 2, a movie stuffed with characters and dense with Easter eggs alluding to futher movies, but by being so stuffed with franchise fillers, it forgets to be its own movie.

The movie picks up 18 months after the climactic events of Man of Steel, when thousands of people were killed in the final battle in Metropolis. Bruce Wayne blames Superman for what happened, as one of his buildings was destroyed in that battle, killing some of his employees. From afar, he's trying to find a way to defeat Superman and any other Kryptonians that will inevitably show up.

Superman (Henry Cavill) meanwhile, is trying to remain a good guy while his actions keep resulting in unintended consequences.

Throw into this mix Alexander "Lex" Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), a chirpy Millennial tech genius who's moving some chess pieces to keep Bats and Supes at odds without their noticing.

Eisenberg's Luthor is a quirky, twitchy guy. It's a different take on the character, and his first scene is one where you have to decide if you're going to go with it or not. My expectations were low coming into this movie, and I chose to go with it. I knew what I was getting into. I actually liked his Luthor.

In fact, most of the cast is pretty good with what they're given. I liked Affleck's Wayne. I continue to be okay with Cavill's Superman. I thought Amy Adams was better this time around as Lois Lane. The jury's still out on Gal Gadot as Diana Prince (I had a hard time understanding some of her dialogue with whatever accent that was), but her arrival as Wonder Woman is the highlight of the movie. Jeremy Irons doesn't get to do anything as Alfred.

The movie feels like it has too boxes to check. The action grinds to a halt so one character can spend two minutes watching security footage of Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg. Sure, those characters look like they'll be interesting in future movies, but there's no justification for the scene other than to advertise future movies. Can we focus on the one we're watching now?

It may be too late to pull Snyder from the director's chair of Justice League Part 1, but I would think the reviews will underline to Warner Bros. that they're going in the wrong direction and they should get different eyes on JL2. They already have a great director in the cast in Ben Affleck. I would love him to be able to take over.

No comments: