I don't intend to spend a lot of time breaking this one down--despite all the bad reviews, everybody's going to see this, right?
This long-awaited entry from Zack Snyder serves as a direct sequel to MAN OF STEEL (which I didn't enjoy at all) but also as yet another Batman reboot, which means we open yet again with the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents. Look, I can understand that in something like GOTHAM (which is still the best show on TV for my money), but really--by now is there a single person watching this film who needs a refresher on that incident? Bruce/Batman (Ben Affleck) thinks Superman should be held accountable for bringing an interplanetary war to Earth and causing collateral damage, while Clark/Superman (Henry Cavill) is concerned with the vigilante justice going on in Gotham City (Batman has taken to literally branding certain repulsive offenders, marking them for violence in "the yard"). Meanwhile, young Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) finds himself frustrated when his plan to create a Kryptonite weapon "just in case we need it" is met with official resistance in the form of Senator Holly Hunter... so he devises a complicated plan to pit the two controversial superheroes against each other and hopefully have them knock each other off.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN isn't a flat-out disaster in my view--I found it far preferable to, for instance, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 and FANTASTIC 4. I'm more than happy with Ben Affleck's Batman, and Jeremy Irons was a fine choice for Alfred. I also liked Amy Adams as Lois Lane... well, actually, when it comes to casting? I'm still not a fan of Cavill's gloomy, guilty Superman--and while Eisenberg's Luthor certainly injects life into the mostly slow and somber proceedings, it seems like he's auditioning for the Joker here. (A definite highlight of the whole experience was the SUICIDE SQUAD trailer at the beginning--that's got potential.) Still missing is the sense of exhilaration one should vicariously enjoy when heroic deeds are successfully performed--remember, even WATCHMEN had a rescue sequence that was jubilantly and appropriately celebrated. And as we all know by now, the running time of BvS is seriously bloated by a subplot meant to introduce the various components of the Justice League as they come together. Gal Gadot has the makings of a fine Wonder Woman, but the truth of the matter is that she could easily have been dropped from the film without affecting the outcome one iota. We have the potential to end the story with an intense one-on-one battle (as promised by the title)... and to that, all I'm going to say is that if Superman's mother (Diane Lane) had been named "Gertrude," the film could have ended a LOT more quickly.
But no, we've got to add the whole "Doomsday" effects orgy to serve as yet another climax (and yes, this is a prime example of a "too many endings" epic, if not as bad as THE RETURN OF THE KING), and Wonder Woman even gets to lasso the behemoth, but he doesn't even spill any juicy secrets--wasn't the lasso supposed to compel its wearer to tell the truth? We also get sneak peeks at Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg (my son had to explain him to me, as he's actually a Teen Titans character and not one of the Super Friends).
The way the local theatres are staggering the showtimes, there's no way you can catch BvS without springing for either non-matinee prices or a 3-D upcharge, so you might as well enjoy the (quite good) 3-D when you make your obligatory trek. It's by no means a contender for 'worst of 2016,' but BvS could have been so much more by being so much less!
Moderator: Chris Slack
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