Tuesday, March 29, 2016
'Batman v. Superman' review: Dark, serious and steeped in comic book lore
Batman v. Superman is certainly no Marvel movie.
This dark and violent movie is steeped in DC Comic book lore and is in no way suitable or relevant for children, age 10 and under.
(I still saw 4 or so such grade school kids sitting through the sparsely populated showing I went to.)
My college son had some serious plot questions after the movie's ending -- proof that no grade school kid is going to make sense of it, or perhaps even enjoy it.
(Admittedly, only my 50-plus years of DC Comics experience and of having every Superman comic since 1960 allowed me to make full sense of the movie ...)
DC Comics has decided to make its movies dark and serious and in that vein, they are far different than the bright and sometimes funny films that Marvel produces.
Indeed, the mounting death count in this movie could not be kept up with, same as in "Man of Steel."
This movie is in a world of Superman where he actually can't save everyone, as he often does in the comic books.
Notwithstanding, "Batman v. Superman" is finally the first Superman movie after "Superman II" in 1982 that hits the bull's-eye.
While I gave "Man of Steel" only 2 out of 4 stars, this movie was far, far better. Sure, there are some little things I would have done differently in the film, but this is certainly a 3.5 out of 4 star movie -- and any critic who blasts the film was probably expecting another "Marvel" type of movie, of just wanted to downgrade what they could not understand.
The vast majority of critics seem to hate this movie, but they had it all wrong -- This is a great action-packed movie for grownups. I just don't think the critics switched from a Marvel to a DC gear when they saw the movie!
The only big fault of "Batman v. Superman" is that it is perhaps too steeped in comic book lore for the average movie goer.
-Ben Affleck nailed the Frank Miller "Dark Knight" version of Batman almost perfectly.
-Henry Cavill continues a steady portrayal of Superman-Clark Kent, same as in "Man of Steel."
-Jesse Eisenberg doesn't overdo it or overact his Lex Luthor role. He plays it to a "T" the insane criminal Luthor version.
-Yes, I was hesitant to accept Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, but again she does very well acting and even physically gets by OK.
-- There is action galore in this movie and so much of it -- especially in 3D IMAX -- that your mind is kind of knocked silly at times with an overabundance of violence.
The film is a good introduction to future Justice League, as well as Wonder Woman movies.
-You also can find great movie bargains out there too -- I paid just $5 to see the movie in IMAX 3D on a Tuesday, just 5 days after it premiered.
NOTE: Lynn Arave has written professionally about Superman since the late 1970s in college. He reported on Superman for the Deseret News newspaper (Salt Lake City) from 1984-2010. He had a letter published in a Superman comic book back in 1967, when the Man of Steel raced the Flash for the first time. Lynn was also written into a Superman comic book story in 2008. He has interviewed Christopher Reeve, Jack Larsen and some DC executives/writers over the years, as well, being in Washington, D.C. for the 1987 premiere of
"Superman IV" and a Smithsonian exhibit on Superman.
--If you've already seen "Batman v. Superman" and/or want some spoilers and more discussion, read down below, beyond the Superman photo for that ------
NOTE -- SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!
1. Yes, Superman dies, that's what happens when he meets Doomsday.
I would have rather had Superman and Doomsday duke it out umtil both perished, but instead a Kryptonite spear did Doomsday in and Doomsday's bony appendages speared Superman fatally.
Will Superman stay dead? No. Batman's strange visions of the future and a little dirt on the casket moving prove the Man of Steel will be resurrected.
(In the comics, Superman resurrects and eventually so dos Darkseid.)
However, will Darkseid somehow be involved in his revival? Superman appeared to be under Darkseid's control in those future visions ....
(Who is Darkseid? He is the original Thanos and created first as an ultimate evil in the Universe.)
2. The Flash seems to be the one giving Batman these visions. He has periodically been a time traveler with important news in past DC Comics stories.
3. Jimmy Olsen dies early on in the movie.
Apparently, there were too many characters for movie producers to deal with. So, this "CIA-operative" Jimmy died a quick death, likely unnoticed by the average movie goer.
4. Darkseid is obviously the big villain in the fall of 2017's first Justice League movie. His "Parademons" were shown in the movie, as well as his Omega Symbol and some ancient portrayals in artwork of this "New God." Darkseid obviously invades Earth and only the Justice League can stop him.
-Pa Kent, who died in "Man of Steel" made a mysterious showing in the movie. How that was possible was not explained. Again, will deleted scenes show the how?
-How the State ended up with an empty casket, while the Smallville funeral had a real body was not explained either. General Zod's dead body from "Man of Steel" ended up in government control and so why not Superman's corpse? More deleted scene fodder here perhaps? (In the comic books, Superman always tries to make sure the government doesn't get any tech or equipment or bodies from Krypton, but if this movie had done that, there would have been a different story here ...)
-One of the little things that bothers me is how they can't seem to get Superman's cape right -- there should be an "S" symbol in that, same as on the Man of Steel's chest. Why is that so hard to do?
-Also, Wonder Woman in his Diana Prince identity was shown to be flying on a commercial airline. What about her Invisible Jet? Might it show up in some deleted scenes too?
-Zack Snyder got tons of extra mileage out of both Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent having a mother with the same first name -- Martha. That word becomes the most important one in the entire movie. That was a nice touch and akin to Snyder's excellent tinkering in "Man of Steel" to make the "S" symbol really a family coat of arms from Krypton that just happens to look like an English "S."
-Perry White was all too forgiving in letting Clark Kent get out of his assignments. (I was in newspapers as a reporter for 40 years and never once had that kind of freedom/flexibility). But, at least newspapers in the movie were accurately pictured as struggling for both readers and income.
-There's also a spray-painted Robin suit in the Batcave, an obvious reference to the Joker killing a past sidekick, but which one?