Talk about mixed reviews – Man of Steel 2: The Fusion of Multiple Comics is not doing so well with critics. Here’s my Batman v Superman spoiler review.
Also, in case it wasn’t clear, spoilers for the entire Batman v Superman film will follow. You have been warned.
No, seriously… spoilers. If you haven’t watched the movie or don’t care to watch it, turn back now.
So last Thursday I had a look at my Cinebuzz card and noticed I had a free movie available. I thought, well, why not go see a movie for the start of the long weekend? I live 3 minutes from a cinema and could sleep in the next morning. I had a look what was out, and lo and behold, it was opening night for our friends Batman and Superman. I have seen Man of Steel and actually really enjoyed it – I mainly saw it because it was produced by Christopher Nolan, and I absolutely love his work. Seeing the trailers and the hype around Batman v Superman, I actually didn’t originally plan on seeing it. Dawn of Justice. Justice League. We get it. I wasn’t expecting the movie to be any good at all. Before I went to see it, I read some of the reviews coming out – the overwhelming majority of reviews were negative or indifferent.
For me though, I actually was utterly surprised at how much I really enjoyed it. There were many moments in the movie where I thought, wow, they’re actually on to something here.
So for those who’ve seen the movie and have heard what the critics have said, here’s an alternative take on all the negative press. Here’s my Batman v Superman spoiler review.
Bat Affleck – wow
Even the biggest critics of this movie are going to tell you – Ben Affleck is outstanding. Like, outstanding. Far and away the greatest performance in the film, and possibly of all the people to play the duality of Bruce Wayne and Batman ever. I think the main reason is because, even if this isn’t the best Batman of all time (although it could be), it is *definitely* the best Bruce Wayne of all time. You just care about the man Bruce.
No origin story here, boys and girls
On that note, I love that this wasn’t another origin story for Batman or Superman. Even though, okay sure, it may be the origin story of the Justice League, I love that this story was on a very developed Batman and Superman. It assumes you know a lot of history, which is also probably one of the reasons people have felt it’s a mess. But if you have even a passing understanding of the comics and animated features (as I do, I haven’t watched many of them but I’ve heard enough people talk about major arches over the years), it’s super rewarding.
I think one of the biggest issues people have with the movie is it isn’t addressed why Batman is suddenly now spoilers killing people. But it does actually – in one shot, it shows the suit of Robin saying something like “The joke is on you”, referencing the murder of Robin at the hands of the Joker. From watching a voice actor documentary called I Know That Voice (great doco if you’re into that stuff), I remember that they talk about it in a storyline called Under The Red Hood, or some reviewers say it’s from The Killing Joke. Either way, this Batman in particular is worn out by life, has been fighting villains for years, he’s tormented and furious over the murder of one of his close friends, and is now a senior grade superhero who’ll do whatever it takes to bring villains to justice. Superman, similarly, has an established back story and a lot is assumed of the audience.
For all the haters, if characters have been around for decades that we all have seen so many times before, you should really know their stories by now. Just sayin’.
Another stand out nod goes to Jeremy Irons as Alfred. Honestly, the voice of Scar saying anything is a pretty good time. Just give him the ingredients for a cake to read out and I’d enjoy listening to him speak. Thumbs up.
I’ll level with you – I really don’t care much for the Justice League. I have literally never gone out of my way to watch any of the shows, or actively pursued any of their storylines. When I was a kid, we had cable TV, and Cartoon Network in its Boomerang feature would play the show Superfriends. Every time I see any enactment of the Justice League, no matter how serious it is, I always just think back to Superfriends.
Especially when Aquaman is around. Ugh, Aquaman. He could’ve called in his dolphin friends to help fight Doomsday, right?
So seeng Aquaman and the other guys in the movie… eh, it was alright. I kind of like the fact that they are using the Justice League as the focal point and making the characters fleshed out from the centre of that, rather than having a billion movies before you can actually enjoy them coming together, ala The Avengers.
Stop taking kids to these movies
Parents – stop taking your kids to M rated (Australian rating) comic book movies. Especially in this movie, there were some scenes that are just not kid friendly. Maybe if you bring your 12 year old, okay, but we had some people in the cinema with us with their 7 year olds. I heard the Bluray release will get an American R-17 rating (MA in Australia I believe) and watching the movie, it’s easy to see why.
To be fair, Danny Devito’s Penguin biting that guy’s nose off is a pretty horrible visual when you’re young too. Just use your discretion, boys and girls.
Am I missing something with Henry Cavill and Superman?
Every negative review I’ve read hates Henry Cavill’s Superman performance. And not just his performance – one review I read said that Mr Snyder obviously doesn’t like Superman at all.
I personally thought he nailed the conflicted Cal-El, Clark Kent and Superman all in one. The world doesn’t understand him. The theologians and politicians are chiming in about whether or not he’s necessary or dangerous. It was a fascinating part of the movie to me. Maybe that’s because I love existential questions. But all in all, I thought he was top notch. Good stuff.
My favourite shot in the movie
I had to mention this, and if you’ve seen it, you’ll know exactly the scene I’m talking about. This movie is full of heaps of very artistically creative and wonderful shots. The fight scenes, which I haven’t spoken too much of yet, are stellar. Batman going to town on the bad guys is so visceral – another reason why this Batman is being considered the best ever. His fighting style is so heavy, and he’s absolutely wrecking havoc. The fight between Batman and Superman is another visual spectacle, especially when Superman’s power starts returning after being hit with Kryptonite. Batman keeps punching him and punching him until Clark’s powers come all the way back and Batman’s metallic punches slowly start to have no effect – looked so cool.
But no, the scene I remember the most is when Batman is in the new and improved Batmobile, chasing down some kryptonite, when Superman gets in his way. The juxtaposition in that one shot when he comes around the corner and sees the Son of Krypton hovering in his way – powerful.
Lois Lane – what Clark needs
People are saying Lois Lane didn’t serve a purpose. Quite the contrary. Some of our friends were talking about someone recently who is a bit more outgoing and public-facing than his partner, and they were saying that his partner doesn’t have to do all that, because he can do that part, and she has what he needs to be that man.
I think that’s actually how they portrayed this Lois. Clark is conflicted and overwhelmed by a world who doesn’t want him, even though they cry out for him every day. Lois is like the healing balm that brings him the focus and fortitude he needs to push through. Next time you watch it, see if you see what I saw in that performance and role.
Lex HOO-HAH Luthor
I liked him. A very different Lex, but layered and well thought out. In an interview with Jesse Eisenberg, a comment was made that his Lex was very “theological”. Probably why I enjoyed it. Lots of good questions and issues explored.
Plus he’s psychotic and a true villain. You felt the weight of his actions. It wasn’t just like he was just there – he was driving absolutely everything going wrong.
Doomsday: The Death of Superman
I think the issue people have is that the trailer spoiled the entire movie. Showing Wonder Woman (who was also great, by the way), showing Batman and Superman teaming up… you knew everything that was going to happen. And then, the introduction of Doomsday… and if you’ve ever looked this character up, you’ll know he’s from the comic line – Doomsday: The Death of Superman.
In the Batman v Superman animated feature (or one of them I saw someone talk about in a Top 10 list once), Batman/Bruce Wayne dies (or pretends to die) at the end of the fight. Instead of going down that path, they fused that arch with the Doomsday storyline, where Superman is classically impaled by the spikes on Doomsday’s body. It was a sobering end to the action flick but unfortunately even those with a casual awareness of Doomsday knew what was going to happen.
Still very well executed (no pun intended) and pretty brave on the part of Snyder to leave his death hanging in the air for so long. It gave Bruce Wayne true motivation to finish what they started.
So there you go, probably the most positive review about Batman v Superman you’re ever going to read. It’s kind of in the same boat as the Transformers movies – if you buy a ticket to it, you should know exactly what to expect. It’s a suped up HD version of you playing with your action figures when you were a kid. Just enjoy it.
Or maybe you couldn’t. What did you think of Batman v Superman? Did you love it or hate it?