BATMAN v SUPERMAN – DAWN OF JUSTICE [Review]: The Dark Knight Returns.
Here we go again.
Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen) returns to the DC cinematic mantle, and the majority of critics are as angry as their first go around with the director’s Man of Steel. Whatever. In the back of my mind — which was constantly racing throughout the entire 2-hours-and-30-minutes, mind you — I knew these “whiney hipster trolls” were going to slay the film’s quality *applause*, drag Snyder’s name through the mud, and come up with more preconceived reasons why the DC/WB’s superhero films just aren’t any good: Too much Cyclops.
Look. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a live-action final-lap-at-Talladega of Herculean explosions, Injustice: Gods Among Us-level fisticuffs *applause*, Arkham Knight-inspired Batmotank chase scenes and contiguous combat (oh, that grappling hook clothesline into Rock Bottom!!) *applause*. Fuck dude, this flick has the absolute best Batman fight sequences ever, best suits ever, and, arguably, best Bruce Wayne ever in Ben Affleck (Gone Girl, The Town) *applause*.
Better than Bale? Keaton? David.. Mazouz? Hold your high Graysons for just one sec; ask any Batfan who their favorite Batman was within the past 25-to-30 years, and the likely answer you’ll get is Kevin Conroy *applause*. So imagine the sheer joy of witnessing the Bruce Wayne from the classic Batman: The Animated Series come to cinematic existence? Throw in the next-level (Batman Inc.) tech and arsenal of Conroy’s other venture as the Caped Crusader in the Arkham series video games *applause* and you have yourself a dream Bat. If you’re age-appropriate, of course.
Ben honors that legacy. “Batfleck” carries himself as Bruce/Batman should: a shrill, all-so-very stern businessman. I believe that may have been the one chink in Christian Bale’s Batsuit, seeing how the last guy to don The Cowl was a tad bit talkative; a tad bit aloof (perhaps to make up for the shitty fact that Nolan refused to use Robin); perhaps a bit too thin in physical stature too. Affleck, on the other glove, is as classically buff as the aforementioned Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski’s animated Wayne. Just look at that magnificent chin *applause*! He’s also appropriately grizzled as the old Bat from Frank Miller’s classic, The Dark Knight Returns (fucking needed, going up against a “Super” man), yet, is still mobile enough to resist attacks from the man faster than a speeding bullet not named Ezra Miller. Snyder captures that last notion with precision in Clark Kent’s first Dawn of Justice tussle *applause*.
Critics also badgered (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.‘s) Henry Cavill‘s potential for Clark Kent in Man of Steel, despite the fact Kal-El hadn’t officially become the pushover newspaper journalist until the film’s final shot. Well, I’m flattered to tell you geeks that both Clark Kent and Superman is (once again) in good hands and heart with Cavill, who especially shines in his romantic scenes with the strawberry blonde Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Sure as hell, Supes is also a lot more serious and angelic this time around *applause*–and that’s sort of the whole point of this movie. Snyder just happened to troll the fuck out of your “collateral” conscience in the process.
BvS‘ first 20-minutes see Wayne in Metropolis on the other side of the disastrous Kyrptonian invasion, basically replicating every concern you cynics spent months-upon-months crying about on Facebook. Ben Affleck — yeah, the guy you fucking hated as The Bat the second his casting was announced — has your back. The world needs human heroes, not Gods (and GodHatesGeeks, so there *applause*). Watching Wayne unravel everything that happened (Metropolis’ ruination; alien worship), everything that is happening 18-months later (divisive Superman politics; the rise of LexCorp), and everything that will eventually happen (Justice League; more baddies) is an absolute joy. World’s Greatest Detective! *applause* Although people who hated Man of Steel likely won’t change their minds after seeing things through Master Bruce’s POV, it’s still great to see Snyder, and Argo writer Chris Terrio (based of the script of David S. Goyer) connect the dots, and keep the film honest with what it chose to adapt *applause*.
Of course, Dawn of Justice isn’t Watchmen, despite a tone that is; so please don’t expect everything — or anything, really — to leap from the page to the silverscreen. Snyder and Co. admirably incorporate a few of the most consequential moments from Miller’s TDKR *applause* (and another famous comic book arc I won’t mention, in fear of spoilers) within the realm of this new DCCU. It won’t please everyone. But at least Batman v Superman improves tonally from Man of Steel, using tons of wide-eyed metaphysical imagery that will have most movie-goers on their toes *applause*. “Is this really going to happen?” and “Is he really going to show?” are just a pair of questions you’ll be asking yourself throughout. And to think I didn’t even get to Wonder Woman yet…
Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious) went from yesterday’s delicacy to this film’s shining forearm guard. Flat out, Gal’s Diana Prince murders it *applause*. Saying anymore–other than yes, she is indeed impressive and tenacious looking enough physically to play the Themysciran Goddess–spoils it. Her movie will be killer. But, speaking of visual eye-candy, BvS looks as good as a BB-8 Rice Krispie treat tastes *applause*. The color palette is nowhere near as drab as M.O.S., despite the fact that Snyder turned up this “sequel’s” violence, grim and grit up 300. Supes’ blue spandex no longer reflects a lagoon, and many scenes have a much richer light filter than the last joint. Snyder listened to both critics and fans’ concerns, almost to a fault even, and some of you nerds still bitch.
But if this fanboy-critic were to get picky for a moment and bitch himself, I’d have to side with those who doubted the new Alexander Luthor. OK, scratch that– I have my reservations about this Lex, but the character’s not to the fault of either the actor or writers. Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) plays the fuck out of The Ridd.. I mean, the more malignant philanthropic douchester. Much like Cavill performed as a credulous man “on his way” to being Super in Man of Steel, everything we see here with Lex is a work in progress. He speedily turns villain like his tongue moves, a dweeb who’s been stuffed into one too many lockers for the last time; but his quirky, highly manipulative mannerisms come during the world’s darkest day, convincing even a southern Senator (a lispy Holly Hunter) to back him and his xenophobic agendas.
The idea of a Lex not so broodily hulking as Batman and Superman — scaling back from the potential of a Gears of Waresque meatgrinder had, say, Bryan Cranston or some other menacing Kingpinish baldie were to acquire the role — was a great idea *applause*. And they picked the right actor to play it. It’s just a case of the no-win situation, seeing how poor the Big Blue Boyscout’s rogues gallery in Metropolis is in comparison to Gotham and Central City. This Lex was the only situation. I can deal with this wackjob as an interesting plot device for now, and the potential as a future impact player down the line. Lest we not forget how brilliantly Luthor creates Doomsday (the monster-formally-known-as-Zod’s growth into the more familiar comic book version of Superman’s Worst Nightmare is an awesome watch)–and the sharply subsumed cameos from future Justice Leaguers *applause*.
Above all else, Batman v Superman is 100% fan service *applause*, which probably explains why the film has a current Metacritic score of 46% and 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not for critics; cynics; whiney hipster trolls. Dawn of Justice is for a new D-generation X, the next-gen superhero comic book geek; those who love the video games, the flashy-bang stuff that would happen in 2016 had two Gods decided to throw down with everything they had for everything they believe in *applause*. Yes, Batman v Superman is not just a cool movie title. This isn’t Halo 5: Guardians; the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel throw down and their “Wrestlemania Moment” is as glorious as you can ever imagine. Oh, and just wait til you witness the ultra-violence of Batapocalypse Now *applause*.
Bottom line, the majority of Batman, Superman — and especially Wonder Woman — fans are going to love this movie, and the rest of you just ain’t fuckin’ cool enough to keep up.
Warner Bros’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice busts in theaters Friday, March 25.