Batman vs Superman : Dawn of Justice isn’t as bad as you think.

The true star of the film, Jeremy Irons
The true star of the film, Jeremy Irons

From the view of critics and diehard fans, Batman Vs Superman is a grave insult to both franchises. Sure the title is jumbled, you don’t know whether to shorten it to Batman or Superman. There’s a strange product placement deal with Turkish Airlines, it sets up future films which is getting increasingly tacky and it’s got Lois lane in it way too much. It might not be the superhero beat-em-up everyone was waiting for, but by no means is it a bad film.

When a film is too big to fail, it’s a sigh of relief because they at least might get to make more of them. Ben Affleck is going to be helming the next standalone Batman as director, but a couple years ago, when he was cast as Bruce Wayne the general cry from fans was “NO!” even after his picture Argo won an Oscar earlier that year. It’s fair to say that the casting of Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg left a sour taste in many mouths when casting was done, so people wanted this film to be bad, they needed it. Affleck is a good actor, convincing all the doubters in ‘Gone Girl’ but after the impact that Christian Bale had in the Batman role for so many years, people just weren’t ready to move on. Eisenberg was also an unpopular choice for Lex Luthor, being known for his witty, sarcastic humour in films like ‘Zombieland’, but has proven himself worthy, bringing a great, menacing quality to the role. I always like the origins of Luthor, before he’s found to be a criminal, and comedians play the best villains (Although Eisenberg has experience with dramatic acting, The Double being one of 2014’s best films). The judge and jury were out to get this movie before it was even made.

It’s not a bad film though. It has a few problems with pacing at the start, and has a boring subplot with Holly Hunter who says the worst lines in the movie, “You can piss in a jar and call it Granny’s peach tea, but its still piss.” It’s unsettling to say those words, it brings up images of incontinent grandmothers serving up jars of urine to their grandkids. They implement this up until the end of her plotline, for whatever reason they thought to keep that in. The film gets going eventually, and by the time the big showdown is about to occur, the film has enough momentum to keep you gripped. From what the trailer showed us the film wasn’t all about the ‘versus’ aspect, because Aliens or something start attacking. Wonder Woman is there. So you can expect the fight between the two to be short, limited, or absent. But the fight is there. What you wanted to see is in the film. It might be not the half hour spectacular you wanted, but it’s there and it’s impressive and full of fanboy glee.

The ending is satisfying enough for those that don’t want too much changed in their cinematic universes, where comic book characters are rarely fighting their fate and the status quo, but it’s enough. The 3D is at a surprisingly tame level for this one, where the temptation of filmmakers to shove objects in your face has died down a bit and they’ve just tried to give a little more dimension to the action sequences. It’s impressive in that it doesn’t try too hard. This film tries very hard for you to like it, stretching out in all directions so much that some characters are completely forgotten, such as Jeremy Irons’ Alfred. It in every way is a better, cooler, and more accurate version of Alfred than Michael Caine (even though he was great) as it shows a posher, but more down to earth with engineering all the cars and gadgets side of the butler that wasn’t present in Nolan’s films. Jeremy Irons was probably the best actor in the whole film, but gets about 10 minutes of screen time.

It is worth watching this movie in the cinema if you’re a fan of the franchises it adapts, or of superhero movies at a whole. It’s unfair to say that it’s at “maximum superhero saturation” or whatever they’re saying about the state of comic book movies, which has happened already with bad adaptations where they’re just trying to keep the rights like in last year’s Fantastic Four. Snyder and crew at least are trying to make the dreams of fans a reality.

 

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