Prime Reactions Review – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Well, this is finally here…

1
“MARTHA!!!”
“Your movie’s looking better and better. And I’m sure they’re saving me for Justice League.”

This is probably one of the most anticipated movies of late. For the longest time, I just wanted this to be out. Not because I was excited for it, but because I wanted to see if it was worth the wait. I didn’t like Man of Steel so I had low expectations for this. Still, I wanted to be surprised or at the very least entertained. All the news leading up to this wasn’t very reassuring. So… how was it?

Like Man of Steel, I walked out of this not angry, but not knowing what to think. I can definitely say that it was not a good movie.

When it comes to movies, despite my attitude in my reviews, I’m very much a wait and see person even if some news can irritate me. Yes, much of the news surrounding this film did not make me hopeful, but it doesn’t matter until the thing’s actually out.

Ultimate Reflections:
I’m going to stick this up here from now on. Doesn’t make sense to place a verdict after all the spoilers, right? It’s a bad movie for many reasons. It’s long, slow, and sloppily put together and unlike a bad Marvel movie where a good time can still be found, I can’t even say that about this. Ben Affleck was good. Everything else was mixed or I needed to see more of. Will I see this again? I have no intention to. Should you see it? Yes. I think you have to see it for yourself to make your own call. Man of Steel despite my dislike had a very divided audience. From what I’ve seen, this will be the same. It’s not like it’s devoid of anything good but at the same time there isn’t anything I would watch it again for unlike Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. Definitely disappointed, but the signs were there from the start.

REVIEW WITH FREE SPOILERS

Ben Affleck was a pretty good Bruce Wayne/Batman. His facial expressions really sell me on him. This is clearly a veteran Batman who’s seen some things over twenty years and the performance shows that. So many people wrote him off because of Daredevil or some other nonsensical reason, but I’m definitely in for more Affleck in this role. Knowing that he’ll be way more involved in the solo Batman movie helps. I liked seeing Batman taking the guys down at the end as though it was lifted right out of an Arkham game. Too bad it was in the trailer. So this Batman kills and uses guns which I’m not against all that much but also not a fan of. While this goes against the common interpretations, I wish that by going against that, it was there for a reason. Instead, I just have to assume veteran Batman’s just tired and this is easier. I’ll go more into this in Superman’s section.

I like old Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes Jeremy Irons as Alfred. He was more involved in the Batmanning. He wasn’t just a butler with advice and he also has a “veteran-like” attitude. He hasn’t quit, but he’s pretty tired of this. His quips on the side were definitely fun and I look forward to seeing him again.

This is my first time seeing Gal Gadot and there’s little to say. She’s not in it enough. I saw a lot of people saying she’s the saving grace of the film or the best thing in it. I did like seeing the three of them standing together, but I really need to see the Wonder Woman movie to make a call.

It’s hard to judge Lex Jr. I think they simply wanted a Joker, but didn’t use him because Superman’s in the movie. Everything about this guy from his mannerisms, his hair, and way of speaking screams Heath Ledger Joker ripoff except without the logic, philosophy, and motivations that made that Joker a fan-favorite. I’ll admit that when Superman confronted him on the roof, I did feel he was a legitimate villain. It was a bit like the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight when Joker said “You have nothing to threaten me with, nothing to do with all your strength.” A bit? What am I talking about? It was very similar… At the end, when his head get shaved, I thought that this is where he gets serious. His first huge loss as a villain and his expression during that scene made me think I was getting the cold, calculating Lex I’m used to even if he’s Jr. Nope. He still acts the same even with Batman staring him down.

The returning characters from Man of Steel range from “meh” to “meh -“. Perry White seemed more active compared to how subdued he was in Man of Steel. Lois was almost pointless. Her subplot about the bullet could’ve been cut entirely. And it kind of irritated me in the beginning when she was naked in the tub for no reason. Did she have to be in there for that conversation to play out? Why go through the trouble of shooting that making sure no one can see anything? I have nothing to say about Pa Kent’s cameo.

As for Superman, I don’t feel like he did anything special, was particularly interesting, or learned anything. I really thought the destruction from Man of Steel was going to be a huge thing here and tie into Lex’s motivations along with why Batman wants to fight Superman. Not really. It’s not like it went unaddressed, but it didn’t play as big a role as I thought it would. By the same token, I thought snapping Zod’s neck made Superman a non-killer. It was horribly handled in Man of Steel, but again I thought it would come back in this movie. Knowing that Batman kills in this one, I thought there would be a clash of ideals between the two and this would be one of the major issues. Hardly addressed… While I got a lot of Batman and I liked him, I think Superman got robbed here.

Just like Man of Steel, this film was super dark in color even in daytime scenes. I guess this is just what they’re going for, but like many I don’t care for it.

Getting into the actual movie, it was exhausting. It’s the usual two and a half hours because nobody knows how to make ninety-minute movies anymore and it was very slow. I don’t want to say that there wasn’t enough going on, but this felt like 2-3 movies or at least there was enough content for 2-3. I can’t say that I was engaged throughout the whole thing and that’s a problem. When I’m not engaged which happens quite a bit in poorly executed media, I start to nitpick. I start to notice things. It’s bad when I do that during the movie because we usually have these thoughts afterwards. I may like The Dark Knight, but I was very into that my first time watching. It was only after repeat viewings that I found things that didn’t make sense. Here, it was very messy and hard to keep track of. I won’t go into every little thing as I doubt I remember every little thing anyway, but it just doesn’t flow cleanly and that’s simply what happens when you pack so much into a film despite a long runtime.

The “inclusion” of Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman wasn’t too intrusive, but still kind of forced.

I think the actual fight between Batman and Superman was fine. Not mind-blowing or worth repeat viewings though. Taking into consideration that this is a veteran Batman who kills and an inexperienced Superman not out to kill and unaware of Kryptonite, it played out as expected. However, the resolution was very weak. Lump me in with the people who never realized that Ma Kent and Bruce’s mother shared the same first name. Even so, it’s pretty forced for Superman at the end of his life to call his mom “Martha”. It would’ve been just as effective if he said “You know who else needs saving? My mom!” I know the two were pressed for time, but I wanted them to talk more. End on a mutual understanding instead of the rushed friending we got. What makes these two the world’s finest in other media is their respect for each other. I don’t think either learned much about the other to establish a true friendship and trust. Bruce is sad about Clark’s death because it’s sad.

You can also lump me in with the people who thought Doomsday in the trailer was a bad idea. I know his introduction in the comics led to Superman’s death, but I didn’t think Superman would die here. Rather than hold onto that story for a potential movie, it’s just tossed into an already bloated one. I certainly didn’t care about Superman’s sacrifice. You could’ve just had Wonder Woman do that. Having her use a spear even makes more sense since she’s an amazon. Of course, we all know Superman’s coming back but did I really see another superhero movie ending with a funeral? And where’s the “Dawn of Justice”? I really think that should’ve been the subtitle to the Justice League movie because there’s little here that legitimizes that.

I don’t know who to blame for this, but I’d really like to see less David Goyer and Zack Snyder. Their fingerprints are all over this and their attitudes toward criticism really bother me. Wouldn’t hurt to have more diverse viewpoints working on this universe.

Next time I’ll finally put up the final Weiss Schwarz post that’s been long overdue. Just so happens some bad movies needed immediate attention.

Follow me on Twitter @there_d_hood for random musings and updates.
Or check out my Tumblr http://there-d-hood.tumblr.com/ for random pictures and updates.

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