I have a confession to make: I went into Batman v Superman:Dawn of Justice expecting to hate-watch it. And there are parts of it I watched with hate. Lots of parts. This movie has problems. It has scads of problems. A metric poop-ton of issues and don’t worry, I’ll get to the most egregious of them. But overall, while I wouldn’t pay to see it again, I don’t regret paying to see it once, nor do I feel it was two and a half hours of my life wasted. I know, right? I was shocked too.
I shall begin with the Stuff Which Did Not Suck:
- I finally got to see the Captain America: Civil War trailer on a giant screen and it was glorious. Also, The Huntsman looks like it may be decent.
- Batfleck was better than anticipated. I admit it, I was early on the “No, please deity, anyone but him” bandwagon and I was wrong. I won’t say he blew me away, but he wasn’t bad and I think, if done correctly, a solo Batfleck Batflick might be decent.
- Jeremy Irons was grumpy and hilarious if underutilized.
- Laurence Fishburne. Yes.
- The Flash’s first cameo was brilliantly conceived and nicely executed. What we saw of the suit was pretty perfect. Also, Ezra Miller is kind of adorable.
- First looks at Aquaman and Cyborg, while not as well-integrated, will allow us to skip the origin stories of characters whose origins we already know, thus leaving time for more actual plot in Justice League. Huzzah. We have presented to us a King of the Sea with actual regal bearing who looks like he could definitely ride some m*&^%$%#*(*&^ sharks; I don’t want to go too much into Cyborg’s intro because *redacted* but he is also shaping up nicely.
- Wonder Woman. I was dubious and, again, I was wrong. Her hero entrance was spectacular and girl threw down the way we all hoped she would. We got a few peeks at her past as well and I have high hopes for the solo film.
- It didn’t feel like a two and a half hour movie. Yes, there were pacing issues and I’ll get to that, but I was surprised when the final battle rolled around because I wasn’t bored or asleep.
- It was better than Man of Steel. I think. I can’t claim to be entirely sure, because I slept through about half of that one, but the fact that I stayed awake for all of BvS is a decent barometer.
- There was a trinity shot and it was glorious.
Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for.
That Which Did Suck:
- I’m not sure how this movie got a PG-13 rating. It is not for kids. I’m doing my best to avoid spoilers so you’re just going to have to trust me.
- Henry Cavill is the worst. Superman. Ever. My cat could do a better job of portraying emotion of any sort, as could a boulder, a cloud, a cockroach, or a dead tree.
- I wanted to punch Jesse Eisenberg in the face starting the very first moment he opened his mouth and every moment he was on screen for the next two and a half hours.
- This Clark/Supes and this Lois Lane are so unbelievable as a couple, watching them is physically painful. Now, unlike her counterpart, Amy Adams is a good actor, but there is absolutely no chemistry between the pair of them and I didn’t believe for a single second they were in love. Or like. Or in the same room. Or on the same planet. To make matters worse, there is as scene wherein Lois and Clark are having a very “serious” conversation while she is naked in the bath with her boobs bouncing around and he is looming over her fully clothed. It was gross and creepy and it felt like a dog marking his territory. I did not like it. To make matters even worse…
- Gal Godot didn’t wear a whole dress until the last half hour of the movie. They were all, if I’m generous, maybe half a dress. Lois wore stilettos and a leather skirt to a clandestine meeting with a government official and leaned over to display her cleavage whenever she was trying to get something she wanted from Perry. And, when we did finally get to Wonder Woman, who showed up like a boss, Mister Snyder made absolutely certain there was an opportunity for the camera to pan up her leg and display her (albeit clothed) crotch. And to make matters still worse…
- The film’s entire second act can be summed up as: LET US KIDNAP ALL THE WOMENS AND THROW THEM OFF BUILDINGS AND TORTURE THEM TO MAKE THE MENS FIGHT! The mens had plenty of reasons to fight already. Many, many sufficient reasons. But, as in Suckerpunch, and to an extent 300, Snyder wants to make absolutely certain we’re aware that women are objects to be used to motivate the dangly genital crowd. He also seems (and let’s throw Watchmen in here) to think that rape, or threat of rape, is an appropriate and necessary plot device. It’s not. He should stop doing it. [Ed. Note: Thinking, or directing? Seems like he’s already not-doing the first, so we vote for the second.]
- He should also maybe not make all warlords African and all kitchen staff Latino.
- The Batcowl was stuck in resting bitch face, the Batmobile was too small for Batman and needed… I don’t know, some tail fins or something? And the Batcave was short a dinosaur and a giant penny.
- There was a training SLASH science montage. No joke. I believed neither the training nor the science-ing. At least when Marvel does science montages, we’re treated to science bros. Oh, and Stark and Banner always remember to turn the lights on. Which is generally considered useful for the science.
- This is a movie. An audio/visual experience. Right? Good, just making sure we’re on the same page because half of the cool stuff going on in BvS was relayed via news reports and second-hand narration. I don’t know if they wanted to see how many weird cameos they could shove in or if the budget ran low at the last minute or what but why do I need to hear Anderson Cooper tell me there’s a massive fight going on WHEN I COULD JUST AS EASILY BE WATCHING THE MASSIVE FIGHT? I go to action movies because I like action. I like to be immersed. And in a film that went out of its way to distance the audience this added another level of why should I care about these people at all? I wanted to care. I really, really did. But it never happened and I never lost myself in BvS the way I have in other films. The telling thing also killed the pacing…
- As did the incessant slo-mo. Seriously, if people had just walked from point A to point B the movie would have been like, forty-five minutes shorter. How many times do I need to watch Bruce Wayne saunter up to abandoned Wayne Manor? Superman hover with his cape wafting being him? Someone else do something entirely normal but at a quarter normal speed? Zero. The answer is zero…
- And the dream sequences. Which were useless, added zero insight, and were boring.
- CGI has gotten better and better, as has motion capture. So why, in a ginormous budget movie like this one, is the CGI bad? And by bad, I mean really bad; inexcusably bad and far too plentiful. Build a model, dude, seriously. Doomsday looked like the Hulk’s butt and Zu’ul’s dogs had a baby and he didn’t move in a way anything with a skeleton could possibly move. Then again, neither did Batman’s spine or Superman’s legs. Shoulda gone old school.
- The soundtrack, with the exception of Wonder Woman’s “theme” is so obvious and horrible, it made me hate music. That’s really hard to do.
So. Would I recommend Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? I won’t actively talk anyone out of going to see it and, as I said at the top, I don’t regret having seen it but I probably won’t ever watch it again unless there is absolutely nothing else on and I have nothing better to do (translation: it is highly unlikely I’ll watch it again). For those of you on the fence, I saw BvS so you didn’t have to. You’re welcome. If you’re firmly in the “no” camp, there’s nothing so spectacular that it’s going to change your mind. In the hands of another director this could have been a really decent flick. As it stands, it didn’t suck but the powers that be need to consider handing this franchise over to someone else. And either paying for the operation that will remove the stick from Cavill’s butt or find yet another Superman. I’d vote for bringing back Brandon Routh (who was a good Superman in a terrible Superman movie) but he’s busy being adorable on Legends of Tomorrow.
The good news is, it’s almost May…