So just like every other asshole with a blog, I reviewed BvS.
Here it is, in all her shit-smearing glory:
Let me start by saying I really wanted to like this movie.
Writer’s note: Below is the part of this review where I, a Marvel guy, defend how much I truly dig DC…skip if you so please!
“Trust me” –DC has a fond place in my comic education.
While I may disagree with their “decisions” from time to time (WTF Ted Kord Death and Simone Firestorm) Overall, DC is fucking awesome.
The horror stuff was always my favorite. My uncles always had old moldy copies of “Swamp Thing” and “House of Secrets” in their comic stash. Early 70s/late 60s Green Lanterns, Sgt. Rock, GI Combat, Superboy and Batman in shambled condition were sprinkled in those piles. Later, I managed to inhale all the Hellblazer trades and Morrison JLA stuff. Lord only knows, even though I’m a FOOM, I’m not some blinders on, weird Marvel fanboy with a Nova Corps emblem tatoo’d to my ass. (wait… I am weird, but not that weird)
As a kid, Superfriends and the Kirby inspired “Super Powers” Cartoons were my bread and butter on Saturday mornings and after school. (With an infamous maneuver, I once traded a 1984 Topps Don Mattingly rookie for 10 Super Powers figures)
I treasured Chuck Dixon’s run on Batman, Miller’s Dark Knight, Giffen’s Justice League International, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, and Grant Morrison JLA. I’m a huge fan of Kirby’s New Gods and Mr. Miracle. I see those old Mr. Miracle covers in my dreams. Conway’s early 80s Firestorm is a underrated feel-good book for me. I can recall fondly searching for the whole run at flea markets and quarter bins back in the 80s.
I’ve always thought the rivalry between Marvel and DC fanboys was stupid. As fans, we all need to support comics and comics movies. There is plenty of room for both DC and Marvel. United we stand, divided we fall, etc..
So that’s usually where I come from.
Back to BvS…
Prior to seeing the film, when I heard the negative reviews for this movie, I was unfazed and frankly… encouraged. Critics suck and are always wrong. (I mean Jupiter Ascending wasn’t that bad, right?) I loved Snyder’s Batman work and really dug Man of Steel. I’ve liked most of Snyder’s stuff like Watchmen (which had mixed critical reaction as well) and, truthfully, I think the guy is a real talent. (I still do BTW)
Yet, those “bastich critics” were dead on with this one; while not the worst film ever made, Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice is a chaotic , unfocused tar pit of ideas, images and iconography that attempts to set ambitious roots of a greater mythology but instead comes off as pretentious, bloated and ponderous.
Let me start with the positives, because there were actually many. For a warm lunker of “hot poop” (to quote my two year old son), at times, I found the movie downright decent and even enjoyable. The experience was a strange up and down of competence mixed with blunder. To quote the chili peppers; there was some pleasure spiked with pain. (But unlike the song not in a cool way, more in the way that hurts more and you never try it again)
First, the namesake heroes are not the problem. During the film, Cavil and Affleck range from passable to solid, and the dour Affleck especially, shows glimpses of something even better. (not to mention a decent performance by Jeremy Irons as Alfred) Gal Gadot is enchanting as Wonder Woman, and seems to have some promise in that role.
In fact, most of the acting is adequate. Other lesser performances by the chick who plays Lois Lane and Diane Lane are their usual competent selves.
Additionally, many of the visuals, sights, sounds, scores, costumes, and sets were well-done. Everyone looked their part. The Bat-Armor was great.
The action sequences were, at large, done well, albeit spaced out a bit thin. The final battle is a worthy experience. During the movie, there are a few other solid fight scenes. Doomsday’s scene is very profound and convincing as a visual. (Albeit awkwardly set up)
The poison pill in this film is Jesse Esineberg’s Lex Luthor.
Not since Tommy Lee Jones atrocious mockery of an 80s Ben Cooper costume meets Two-Face have we seen flubbed over-acting to this extent. His cyber-geek adderol laced maniacal Lex Luthor totally misses the mark, and the silly lunacy of his internet mogul protégé persona is a serious detriment to the film’s gravitas. Worse, it comes off as just some generic pastiche of something else rather than a viable take on Luthor. When left in the film’s final act, I darn well near thought I was going to see cabbage thrown at the screen from a snickering audience.
Yes, he was that bad.
This blunder is still on Snyder. For a man who professes to know DC comics so well, depicting Luthor as this bed-wetting, snide ,zucker-twerp is the antithesis of DC lore and a huge mistake.
Aside from Eisenberg’s hackery, the dialogue was overly ambitious as well, and seemed dead set on delivering pontification, profound one-liners and trailer snippets than advance the plot or character motivation. The result was often unintentionally comical.
Unfortunately, I was reminded of The Phantom Menace in this regard. So too, I found myself saying “Oh no! This movie sucks! How??!!” about forty minutes into the film, just like I did with Menace all those years ago. Disappointment fell on me like a ton of Kryptonite bricks. Oh Darth maul? Oh Parademons! Oh shit! …Déjà vu.
Bad dialogue isn’t the end of the worst; both Superman and Batman are constantly held down by the threadbare motivations for their actions. The conflict comes off as forced and ham fisted. This is a serious problem for what the movie is trying to do. You never believe their rivalry or heated ire. You never really get why Batman is so motivated to take out supes. You never get why Luthor is such a weird asshole. You never get any motivation for Gadot aside from just being hot, sassy and badass.
Awkward errors add to the problem. One funny moment occurs when Superman has been “ass beat” by Batman and begins to say his mother’s name. Lois, who runs up to aid Clarke, is clearly not close enough to hear him speak, yet she seems to clearly know he is shouting “Martha” and relates this info to Wayne. It was an unintentional funny, de rigueur BvS herky-jerky gaff and helped derail a somewhat poignant and critical scene.
More of the movie’s problems stem from not cutting the fat. Clearly, the result is a film in dire need of tighter editing. The introduction of the other JLA cast members was too much for the movie. The bloated result; a jumble of “long game” snippits that could have been accomplished better and with more elan. Even positives like Galdot, seem forced and pegged in for the franchise’s sake…not the story.
Couldn’t Aquaman been flashed in the beginning when the dive crew found the Kryptonite in the water? Cyborg glimpsed within Luthor’s lab? Couldn’t Flash have been mixed into one of the action scenes saving someone?
These moments needed to be more organic.
Further, I can think of at least a dozen scenes that should have been left on the cutting room floor or shortened. (Especially in the first hour of the film) Re-showing us all the Wayne murders in the initial scene, an excessively long flashback to Man of Steel from Bruce Wayne’s perspective, the countless dreams, hallucinations and flashbacks walked the line into well-documented “no no”(s) of proper storytelling. (glorified info dumps ad nauseum) While moving outside of those lines is typically a strength for Snyder, the dreamy chaos of the film just goes into muddled territory one too many times. This seriously affects the pacing as well.
Since the bad reviews have come in Snyder has been bragging about how big of a DC fan he is and all the homages within the film. Some fans have really taken his back to defending him. The problem is we have just too many DC themes ham-fisted together in a patchwork Frankenstein’s monster of material.
Apokoliptan Omega symbols and Mother boxes be-damned, it doesn’t all work.
Injustice mixed with Miller mixed with Crisis / Flashpoint mixed with Jurgens and Byrne. The Dark Knight Returns undertones and all the other themes just don’t gel and the whole conflict seems forced.
Even more yawn-worthy, the core plot of this movie becomes the most dominate cliché of super hero “VS” crossovers in both film and print; heroes with different world views meet, engage in obligatory fight before a true mustached villain presents himself and both heroes unite for the greater good. Wake me when it’s over. In the end, the Zod cloning stuff and Doomsday plot line just seems like a rushed device to fill the token “last battle” and mustached villian for that same old comic book fight. (Though the scene was well done for what it was)
Neat-o, Fourth world references or not…it’s just too much.
You don’t get the real character motivations without the backstory of decades of relationship between Bruce and Clarke. What we get here just comes off like an image….a visual scenario…IE eye-fluff.
Further, I’d add the Eisenberg’s horrid version of Luthor and his central and cancerous effect on the film puts into some doubt the meticulous extent of Snyder’s “love affair” with all things DC.
That’s not my, or anyone’s Lex Luthor.
No doubt the sheer drawing power of this film’s icons and eye candy will garner huge dollars and box office bucks. So too, despite the aforementioned cabbage hurlers, this will allow Snyder to make his ballyhooed JLA sequels. Strangely, I’ll probably tune in to see the product. As I said, it was an odd movie for me…and perhaps time will be kinder to it. I enjoyed parts.
Hopefully, Snyder learns from the critical reaction and feedback he receives and learns some lessons of where he went wrong here. I’d insist; somewhere within Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice was a really good movie, but the work needed more focus. That and, if I never see Jesse Eisenberg in another comic flick it will be too soon.
I’ve seen many DC fans are blindly defending the picture as if their own honor had been assaulted. I get that. Yet, I think the call out to those zombies to freakin’ “relax” is well in order.
This is a flawed film.
Despite the problems, this movie is doing well…my guess is the long haul $ earned will lesson compared with more complete flicks like Deadpool and thus give the critics some voice while still keeping on course for Snyder and the major plans DC and the JLA are headed for.
Perhaps, after all, everyone will win in the end and Snyder will deliver a much more focused JLA film in line with what we know he’s capable of yielding.
For now, this wreck of a “Dawn” may be worth a view, but it’s far from good enough.
BTW: Don’t believe what you read. The lack of humor had very little to do why this movie stunk.
But I’m concerned about that talk… because not all comic stuff needs to be funny.