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The Movie

Yes, I saw The Movie.  And good heavens--you would think it had caused continents to sink! Reviewers excoriated it so badly that blood ran around the edges of my screen.  Reviewers seemed to delight in finding new and fiendish ways to say awful things about Batman v Superman, in ways that went far beyond what the movie deserved.  It was as if they had already decided the movie was going to be bad and they spend the night before the premiere trying to outdo each other in nut-kicking descriptions.

"The worst Batman we have ever seen," screamed Matt Goldberg.

"An indigestible, posturing, two-and-a-half-hour mope-fest", sniped Tim Grierson.

"So adolescent and over the top that you half expect the film to end with Emily Browning opening her eyes, having just finished another off-camera striptease in Sucker Punch," howled William Bibbiani.

Except Batman v Superman was certainly not that horrible.  It should have been better, yeah.  But the hate reviewers really need to let go of their nutsacks when they write.

There will be big spoilers. This is your only warning.

Darwin and I went to see it together.  My own expectations were low.  Any time the whole point of a movie is the clash of two heroes who normally have no reason to fight, you're going to have story trouble.  When I collected comics, I hated covers that blasted stuff like ROBIN BATTLES BATMAN: THE WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!!! or THE HULK TAKES ON THE FANTASTIC FOUR!  The story was always some lame excuse just to have some heroes fight instead of having heroes against villians.  For some reason, readers adore questions like, "Who would win--Hulk or Spider-Man?" I don't know why.  It's a stupid question and always has been. They're fictional characters.  The Hulk could get beaten up by a housefly if the writer wanted him to.  It's utter nonsense.  But here we had a full-blown movie that was going to settle the question of who would win if Batman and Superman fought.  Well, okay--I'm still in.  I love a super-hero movie and am willing to watch it just for the special effects, if nothing else.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

The movie spends a long, loooooong time setting up the reasons for the battle.  Too long, really.  The opener goes back over Batman's origin AGAIN, and while there's a payoff for it at the end of the movie, at the time we're all thinking, "Oh, fuck--really? How many times must we watch the Waynes die?  Let's get to the story, please."

Henry Cavill as Superman.  His Superman is remote, stony, and unlikeable.  We have a few sequences where he saves people from this or that, but the expression on his face is always harsh and nasty.  This was no doubt Zack Snyder's choice--he wanted Superman to be god-like and distant.  Unfortunately, it's too grim and not fun to watch.  We did like it when he took off his shirt, though.

Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.  Oh, how I hated this interp of Luthor.  Snyder and Eisenberg conspired to make Luthor into a simpering, mincing clown.  He was in no way scary or unnerving. He was more of an annoyance.  We don't seem him as a brilliant scientist (the stuff he does with Zod's body and the Kryptonian computer seem to be things that any halfway competent CSI or IT person could handle).  We don't see him as a careful, one-step-ahead criminal and businessman (instead he makes cringeworthy speeches, throws his dead father's money around, and bribes officials with actual candy).  At the end of the movie, he's gone the Hollywood version of insane, more like the Joker than Lex Luthor.  I know a number of people loved this Luthor, but I really didn't.  And could we have at least one Superman-centric movie WITHOUT Luthor in it?  Superman has dozens of bad guys in his life.  Brainiac.  Toyman.  The Parasite.  Bizarro.  Vandal Savage.  Seriously, let's look elsewhere for a while.

Plot holes.  Yeah, there were a lot of these.  The biggest one comes when Luthor forces Superman to fight Batman by kidnapping Martha Kent and doing the old, "I'll kill her if you don't do kill Batman."  So Supes hares off to fight Batman instead of, say, dumping Luthor in a cell and looking for his mother on his own?  Or forcing Luthor to call his minions to say he needs to release Martha?  (This Superman has done some dark stuff, and I'm finding it difficult to believe he's above hurting Luthor a little to make him obey.)  Or even landing in front of Batman and saying right away, "Hey! Luthor kidnapped my mother and told me to kill you or he'll kill my mom. Let's work together."  I know the point of the movie is to make Superman and Batman fight, but this didn't work.

Blaming the hero.  Bruce Wayne blames Superman for destroying a chunk of Metropolis in the battle with General Zod in Man of Steel.  Never mind that General Zod's ship hovered over Metropolis, zapping big chunks of it into oblivion.  Never mind that Superman was trying to STOP Zod.  No, the destruction of Metropolis was all Superman's fault.  I've seen this in a lot of super-hero movies and TV shows--the villain does something awful, the hero shows up and stops it, and everyone blames the hero.  WTF?  It's like getting made at the police after they capture the thief who steals a painting.  "If it weren't for you, the museum wouldn't have been broken into!"  It's just idiotic.

The Dark.  We're all grimdark now.  Everything must be gritty and dark and harsh.  The movie's attention often focuses on tiny details meant to shout THIS IS THE REAL WORLD.  Gritty sand.  A bathtub that overflows.  Cramped quarters in the Batcave.  Guns, guns, guns, guns.  Even the lighting is dark, with that blueish filter that makes everything look cloudy or lit by flourescents.  We audiences are so over the grimdark.  We want some fun in our super-heroes, please.  See TV's THE FLASH and SUPERGIRL for inspiration.

WHAT I LIKED

Ben Affleck as Batman.  Actually, I liked him as Bruce Wayne.  (Wow, did he bulk up a lot for this movie!  It showed when he wore those business suits.)  I liked him better than Christian Bale, to tell the truth.  Unlike Cavill, he brought emotional depth to his character, and as Batman he talked in something other than a harsh whisper.

Gal Godot as Wonder Woman.  Really, she was the absolute best thing in the movie.  I wanted to cheer when she showed up in her battle gear to take on Doomsday.  And she was an astounding Diana Prince, too.  Oh, how I wanted more of her.

The Justice League cameos.

IN THE END . . .

The movie isn't the apocalypse.  It wasn't even the worst of the super-hero movies out there.  (Remember Daredevil? Batman and Robin?  The Hulk?  Yeah.  All these were far worse.)  It could have--shoud have--been better, but it was worth seeing.

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