If it involves comic books, you know I’ll be the first in line. They were the medium that taught me how to read, and to this day, I see one with a bent page and I suffer a little death on the inside. While I have never been a consistent reader of DC comics, I couldn’t say no to seeing Dawn of Justice on opening weekend with my geek posse. The trailers promised an action packed movie of superheroes duking it out for two hours. What we got was like seeing a comic with a bent page, death on the inside.
The errors contained in this movie started before I reached the theater. The obsession with the movie’s marketing team to release a new trailer each week for months got to the point where only the last twenty minutes was left out. The fundamental issue is not with the movie itself, but with the concept that Superman wouldn’t instantly pulverize Batman. Mr. Lasereyes could fly a mile away and just saw through the Dark Knight while knitting his mother a nice afghan. And before somebody jumps in and says, “Superman wouldn’t do something so evil,” you forget his fight with Zod ended in a guy getting his neck broken and the property damage slaughtering thousands kind of removes the “good guy” arguments. Superman got the gritty treatment and his righteousness was left behind in the pages of comics.
Spoilers Begin Here
Batman vs. Superman, I mean really, who needs anything more? Two heroes duking it out until something big and bad forces them to team up (it’s actually Wonder Woman’s miniskirt that does it I think.) Zack Snyder has a shaky past, Dawn of the Dead = win, 300 = win, Watchmen = win for me, loss for the masses, Legend of the Guardians = did anybody actually see this? Sucker Punch = pretty, but a loss. He has experience, but nothing went right in this movie for me. The action sequences were shot in a way that kept the camera moving so quickly that you could never actually see the action. When the camera slowed, it was either so dark or so close, we were never sure what was happening. The one sequence in which we see Batman fighting is on an alternate Earth using a flash forward and a flash sideways at the same time. In a very short sequence we discover that Ben Affleck is either too old to fight or incapable (despite the work out montage which proves Affleck has abs.) The dark lighting is similar to Dark Knight, but somebody forgot to tell Snyder that the audience needs a light source to see the fighting. I can’t blame him for the dream sequence, the flash backs, the flash forwards, the non linear story telling or the alternate dimension, that I’ll blame on the writers, producers, and DC. Were there any story telling techniques left?
Cavill has a moral dilemma and we get a story that resembles Watchmen, the overall theme says, “Who watches the Watchmen?” He brings back the same Superman we saw in Man of Steel, however the majority of my issues revolve around Affleck. While I was okay with all characters in their secret identities, when Affleck suited up and became Batman, it was difficult to buy into him being the Dark Knight. The suit looked like a massive rubber suit and I found myself asking, “How the hell does this man move in this? Was it rubber injection? Does he bounce?”
Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor made me nervous in the previews, but his level of crazy genius in the movie made me think he had some talent. Even though his involvement in creating Doomsday was lackluster at best, his level of crazy was acceptable. And other than Superman being a challenge, his motivation to take down the “god” was ambiguous at best. His primary purpose in the movie was trying to get an importing license, and then when that goes south, he decides he’ll go into an alien ship, make a super creature, and get crazier. But we’ll ignore the million plot holes that gets created with his character.
If you snoozed through the first two hours, you’re okay, it’s the last twenty minutes that you wake up for. This is when Wonder Woman appears, shield and sword in hand and prepared to fight. Between the creative use of her bracers or her unbreakable lasso, we get just enough of her that we see her steal the battle. I can’t remember her speaking, I just remember her being the perfect Wonder Woman.
During the two-hour and twenty-minute trailer for the Justice League, we had high hopes for the cameos of other superheroes. While we did get a glimpse of the Flash, Cyborg (who gives away the big bad for Justice League), and Aquaman, the method of delivery was pretty sad at best. Let’s slap a few files on a flash drive and watch as people click-through each video. I would have been more amused if Princess Diana turned on her TV and it was a trailer for each upcoming movie.
I had high hopes for Ben Affleck, I would have even been happy with his level of action considering his version of Daredevil. But on every level, the movie only is considered good because I lowered my expectations to such a degree it had no place to go but up. However, despite all that, I still think this movie falls on a level between the horribleness Daredevil and Elektra. Now maybe we can get over this bad build up and just get right to the Justice League movie. We’ll cross our fingers that it delivers.