Sunday, May 8, 2016

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice - Average Joe Review

So, on April 24, 2016, I went to the theatre to see Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. And this is my review of the movie.

First off, this review is spoiler-free. You're welcome.

Also, lemme just say that I haven't seen any of the DCCU movies up to this point. Basically, I haven't seen Man of Steel. So perhaps that may influence my experience of this movie. However, I knew what happened in that movie. So yeah.

Batman vs. Superman, perhaps that most anticipated movie of 2016 (The Force Awakens came out 2015, right? Right?! Ok). Of course, nothing could live up to the amount of hype that surrounded the film. Every trailer was picked apart, frame by frame by ultra-fans. All the promotional content, all the TV spots and clips on Youtube, they too were analyzed beyond a shadow of doubt as to what their role was in the movie. Personally, I distanced myself from such theorizing, from such speculation. I usually try to go into a movie without knowing what it's about. However comma, I was exposed to the horrible word of mouth that accompanied the release of the film. I heard from friends that critics were bashing it, that it was horrible, that it would waste my time

And to be honest, I kind of agree. Performances were overall pretty okay, with Ben Affleck being the stand out cast member. His portrayal of Batman echoed that of Christian Bale's, which is always a good thing. Nevertheless, it didn't' my save the movie. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was an interesting decision, but I felt that he didn't portray the character very well, despite a good performance. On the other hand, Henry Cavill's Superman, to me at least, was quite unconvincing. However bad or good the performances were, much worse so was the plot.

The plot was rather atrocious. Basically, Lex Luthor tries to put Batman and Superman against each other in "the greatest gladiator match" ever, his philosophy being that no power is innocent, thus Superman had malicious intentions. Batman's motivation to fight Superman was basically,"If he's so strong and we can't control him, then he's a threat [not a direct quote]." This resolve was further strengthened by Luthor's actions, which [SPOILER], and by Superman's battle with General Xod in Man of Steel, of which we see Batman's perspective. Superman fought Batman because you know, vigilante and hero don't really mix. However, the plot gets convoluted and hard-to-follow when Luthor gets a bunch of privileges and authority from this authority-figure guy that I forget what's his name. Luthor's interactions with Senator Finch, someone who believes that they can make Superman obey laws and stuff, are boring, albeit pretty important to the story. Perhaps the plot itself wasn't bad, but the story told was. Overall, the non-action elements of the story were quite boring. I fell asleep during one part for about a short period, to find that I hadn't missed anything from my friend.

Snyder's bleak colors, and dark brooding atmosphere are of course present, and the mood it sets is quite fitting. However, at times, humor is mixed in with this, and, to me at least, resulting in a few confusing moments. "Wait, am I supposed to be laughing or on the edge of my seat right now?" went through my head a few times at least. 

And now for the action. It's good. It's at times incomprehensible noises, accompanied by a cacophony of CGI, dark-costumed characters fighting other dark-costumed characters, and a whole lotta jump cuts. The final action scene against [SPOILER] was pretty awesome though. However, because Superman and Batman are conveyed more as ideas than as people (Superman being the "you-don't-understand-me, I-actually-have-you're-best-interests-at-heart" guy and Batman being the counter to Superman, the protector of the masses), emotional attachment to the characters is all but gone. I didn't feel any sadness when [MAJOR SPOILER], which made me less emotionally invested in the overall film. Basically, I was pretty pathetic and indifferent towards most characters (except for Luthor, whose motivations were weaved into his peculiar personality quite well). However, the Batman vs Superman scenes were PRETTY FREAKING AWESOME. I didn't care who won or lost or whatever, but as an Average Joe, the excitement of Superman flicking Batman aside or Batman using the element of surprise to his advantage resulted in a pseudo-adrenaline rush. A good thing.

One thing I will add is that the shoehorning in of characters that will be additions to the DCCU was not appreciated, resulting in unnecessary tangents about Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash. DC, we get it. You want to rival the MCU. However, rushing your cinematic universe to catch up is not the way to go about doing so. Instead, DC should've had a Batman solo movie and maybe a Wonder Woman solo movie in preparation. It just feels too rushed.

All in all, the action scenes that the Average Joe came to see were few and far between, being separated by boring exposition, plot development (which neglects character development), and boredom. I give it a 2.9/5 stars, for the action scenes somewhat made up for the messy plot.

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PRANAV