At The Movies: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

If you’re ever in a room full of strangers and you need to determine who the nerds are, just ask everyone one simple question:

“Who would win in a fight? Batman or Superman?”

The normals will look at you like you’re crazy. “Superman, of course. He has super strength. And super speed. And fire comes out of his eyes. And he can freeze you with his breath. And he can fly.”

The nerds will look at you like you’re crazy. “Batman, of course.”

And the nerds won’t have to explain it to you because nerds just ¬†understand this is one of the immutable law of nature: Batman Always Wins.

Now, some 70 years after they first met, the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight have their first face-to-face in live action on the big screen. Does “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” live up to the tremendous heights of hype that surround it?

Uhm…oh Jeez…

Let me put it this way — did you enjoy “Man of Steel?” The Zack Snyder-directed Superman movie that launched the current DC superhero movie movement? Many people did, many people didn’t. If you’re one of the ones who did — good news! “BvS” is very much a continuation of that film in style and substance.

If you hated “Man of Steel,” well, “BvS” is very much a continuation of that film in style and substance.

batman-vs-superman-posterThe movie opens with yet another retelling of Batman’s origin story. But this time it is done Zack Snyder style — which means lots of overblown, drawn-out and stylish scenes. Other directors have done it better in much less time. That will be a recurring theme in “BvS.”

Let’s skip the plot synopsis and get to the point.

The Bad: It’s too long (way too long). It’s too loud (way too loud). It’s too serious. (It’s Oh. So. Serious.) It’s ponderous. Too many pointless dream sequences. Not enough coherent action sequences. Jessie Eisenberg is trying too hard to channel Heath Ledger (Note: Lex Luthor is not the Joker). Not enough Wonder Woman. Not enough Alfred. Too many plot holes. Perry White has the worst news judgement of any newspaper editor I have ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of them). The main event is over too quickly (especially given that it took 2 hours just to get to it). The final showdown with Doomsday is a garish light-show where you can’t make out what’s going on. Not enough Lois Lane in the bathtub (if you’re going to go there – go there).

The Good: It’s Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all in the same movie!

It will be up to your own discretion to decide if the good outweighs the bad.

I do think Ben Affleck makes a pretty good Batman. And I like the costume better than the rubber armor he’s been wearing since 1989. It looks like this Batman can actually move. Gal Gadot makes an impressive debut as Wonder Woman. Wish her role could’ve been larger, but that might’ve meant taking out a dream sequence or two. I’m still not sold on Henry Cavill as Superman, he’s just too dour and frowny all the time. But that may be more on the director.

I also thought it clever how they resolve the Batman/Superman conflict. Fifty years a nerd and I never noticed that connection.

Despite its many flaws, I did enjoy “Batman v. Superman.” I’m just that big a geek. And hey, it’s not like it was “Fantastic Four” bad.










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