Today I’m going to debut a new segment to the blog: reviews! I’m going to be tagging these posts as “Kat Thoughts” for your convenience (and so you can skip them if you’re not into reviews). Be forewarned that there will be some spoilers below the cut. -KW
Last night I went to see the premiere of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with my boyfriend and our squad at probably the nicest IMAX theater in our area. I know a lot of people discounted this movie from the get-go because of its director, Zack Snyder; he penned and directed both the box office failure, Sucker Punch, and the gritty, iconic gorefest that was 300 if you’re unfamiliar. Given the discrepancies in quality between his works, it’s no surprise that expectations for the film were low. I didn’t know any of this going into it. I only knew him as the guy who directed Man of Steel, a decent movie that actually made me care about Superman.
For some of you, that last sentence must be a jaw-dropper.
“Katherine, how did you not like Superman?”
What can I say? I watched the 90’s Superman cartoon just as much as I watched Batman’s, but he always came across as boring. He’s super fast, super strong, has goddamn laser and x-ray vision, and is nearly invincible; where is the fun in a perfect superhero? Honestly, I thought that he lacked complexity despite the whole, “with great power comes great responsibility” schtick. I never got the idea he seriously grappled with doing the right thing. Well, at least until I saw Man of Steel. For the first time, Clark came across as a genuinely troubled guy, trying desperately to fit in but not being able to because of his inhuman abilities (it reminded me of Disney’s Hercules a little bit).
Now let’s get to the bottom line: this was the first time in forever I’ve disliked a movie. I’m not going to say it’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen, because it had some glimmers of excellence, but it’s mediocre at best. Even with the awesome tease at the future members of the Justice League, and decent performances by Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons, Herny Cavill and Gal Gadot the movie just didn’t cut it. The movie suffered from an absurd and poorly written script.
Lex Luthor is a fine arch nemesis for Superman to have, and I will never contest his importance. His whole endgame for the movie was to destroy Superman and ostensibly become the new godlike public figure. That being said, his use of Batman to achieve this goal didn’t make any sense; how did Luthor even figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. I know he’s supposed to be exceptionally smart, but I can’t suspend my disbelief that far. This is a brand new Batman with infinite possibilities, and the writers didn’t consider plugging the gaping plot holes with some background? Honestly, the film would have benefitted from cutting out Bruce’s unnecessary nightmare sequences and instead having some sort of flashback or explanation of Luthor’s relationship to Batman.
If we ignore all of the ridiculous Lex Luthor scheming and move straight to the climax of the movie, you get a dynamic, exciting battle where Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman all get a chance to shine. I would even argue that Wonder Woman is one of the best things about this movie. She clearly holds her own battling against Doomsday, and in fact she does significantly better than either of the boys do before they get their hands on Kryptonite. I wanted more from her than we got to see in this movie: more dialogue, more background, more everything. I know we’re getting two Justice League movies plus a solo Wonder Woman movie, but I need more of Diana Prince and I need more of her now.
The worst part is how goddamn good some of the scenes were. The movie drew me in with a gut-wrenching opening sequence: the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne. I’ve read and seen this scene played out a million times over, but something about this particular interpretation really drew me in. I feel like the way it was shot mimicked how a child would have seen the events: flashes of a gun, the light leaving his mother’s eyes, the heroism of his father. It was exceptionally done. In fact, I felt like a lot of the Bruce Wayne scenes were just better than the Clark Kent parts, but that probably has less to do with the script and more to do with my die-hard love of Batman.
At any rate, I would still suggest seeing the movie if you like Batman or Superman. You’ll certainly get your fill of both, and lots of exciting action scenes to boot. After all, just because it isn’t good doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Maybe wait for this one to come out on Redbox, or try and see it at the discounted matinee price.
FINAL VERDICT: Three out of five disappointed Batmans.
All my love,