"Batman v Superman". Why So Serious?

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

I went to the midnight premiere of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” alone last night. I think the last movie I went to by myself was “Epic Movie” in 2007. I’m not trying to say anything specific here, nor imply the films are comparable in any way, I guess I’m just saying that the bar was set pretty low for what I expected my solo movie-going experience would be like.

I would imagine the die-hard fans of graphic novels like “The Dark Knight Returns” or any of the “Justice League” ventures probably would get their money’s worth from this film. The titular battles, as well as the chemistry both Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman share is white hot, there’s hatred, there’s anger, there’s confusion. If you are wanting to go into this film and see a fairly realistic portrayal of what a backlash against an all powerful superhero would look like, then “Batman v Superman” delivers pretty well.

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

The problem, I think then, is that this film could be divided into one part set-up and one part delivery. The second half of the movie is pretty good. It’s action packed, it’s intense, it’s clever. The first half, in my opinion, was pretty borderline boring. Maybe not boring, but slow, and this is strange because it almost feels like it’s really racing past all the set-up to get to the good parts, but it still takes over an hour to get there. There’s a lot you could cut out, most of which would probably be Lois Lane’s thread, as she’s really not that interesting of a character. OH! Also you could cut Lawrence Fishburne out of the whole movie, and any movie he’s been in after “The Matrix”.

Ultimately, I felt very much the same way about “Man of Steel”. There aren’t too many dastardly sins this movie commits, but there isn’t really anything amazing or incredible it does either. If there was, the trailers certainly ruined any punches this movie thought it was packing, which is frustrating because after the last spoiler-ridden trailer was released, Warner Bros assured fans there were still heaps of surprises left in the film. Not really. 

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

I feel like the only character I really enjoyed that much was Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, who had some pretty bogus lines of dialogue, but his performance was fresh and different and quirky. This is fundamentally the problem with the DC Cinematic Universe, they’ve established themselves as the gritty alternative to the more light-hearted and energetic Marvel Universe, but you’re dealing with superheroes here, with outdated names like ‘Superman’ and these characters and this world takes itself so seriously. Tony Stark is a cheeky, loveable playboy, Thor and Captain America are hilarious fish-out-of-water characters. Superman and Batman are just too damn serious, and this is why Lex Luthor is the best element of that first half, because before the action turns up to 11, he’s actually entertaining and silly and fun. This is why I’m betting “Suicide Squad” will be a better film.

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", Warner Bros. Pictures

This isn’t to say you can’t make a superhero movie that takes itself seriously, I feel like “The Dark Knight” achieved that pretty well, but “Batman v Superman” simply has no class. The tone is so much more gritty and real than the Marvel films, but the execution is so dumpy. This was evident right from when the ham-fisted mess of a title was announced, to the clumsy trailers which showed all the good bits. It’s frustrating because the story itself isn’t bad, it’s actually pretty good, but the sum of the movie’s parts are better than the whole, in this case. It’s a good idea. I just probably wouldn’t call it a good movie.

We aren’t talking about “Batman and Robin” bad here, and we aren’t talking about “The Dark Knight” good either, it’s a fairly middle-of-the-line movie, which are just hard to write about critically, and don’t inspire passion on either side of the argument.

It's probably better than "Epic Movie" though.


About the Author:

Alexander Jones (AJ) really likes movies and TV. He really likes you too. You can find more of his stuff all over Cult Popture, in the blogs, vlogs and podcasts.

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