review – batman vs. superman: dawn of justice

With Batman vs. Superman, the march of comic books turned into movies continues its seemingly never ending parade. It’s perhaps not surprising considering the ridiculous amounts of money these titles command at the box office. Not having been a comic book fan, I personally feel like it makes it a lot easier to review these effects heavy monsters from a more laid back perspective. With that said, overall, I liked the film.

In days gone by, I used to malign issues with continuity or plot development, but as I enter my middle years, a lot of that arm-chair director’s cynicism has given way to a much simpler metric, namely, how the picture made me feel. In that regard, much like the predecessor Man of Steel, I thought the movie was a kick in the pants. Aside from the rather silly product placement in the very opening moments (seriously, how many uber billionaires would toodle around town in a Jeep?), the view of the destruction from the man in the street point of view served as a nice setup. It was perhaps a bit heavy handed in the 9/11 analogies, especially with the rather pointed portrayal of Affleck’s Bruce Wayne going against the crowd and towards the destruction, ala N.Y.F.D.

Leaving that aside, Mr. Affleck displayed a lot less of his usual self-consciousness in his acting and actually stepped into the very large pair of Bat shoes rather well. Or, put another way, I expected very little and was surprised by how seamlessly Affleck took on the role. While much maligned, I also found Eisenberg’s performance quite good and think that he brought a lot of interesting nuances to the venerable Lex Luther. Cavill, for his part, betrays none of his British roots in his portrayal of the red-caped hero and shows once again that he is well-suited to the task of zipping around in tights and a cape with a straight face. It’s not a dig, that’s shit’s hard to do! Amy Adams does a great job as well, bringing her substantial acting prowess to tackle the role of the fearless reporter.

From where I sat, there was a clear allegory in Superman’s rescue of Lois Lane to U.S. involvement in the middle east. CIA meddling in middle eastern affairs, partly paid for by an evil American business man in Lex Luther, that ends up in a betrayal and mayhem, with an ostensibly do-gooder super power bumbling into the middle of the whole works with a bang. That he later bears the brunt of the criticism for the disastrous effects only cemented the notion in my mind. Whether or not that was the intention is besides the point really, the set-up made for a good deal of fun.

Much like a video game, titles like this need their big final boss to defeat and Batman vs. Superman conjures one up. There’s nothing new here really, but it never ceases to amaze me that, even though I’ve seen this same build up and fight a hundred times in a hundred different movies, they still work on me. I still sit there with my legs all tensed up and a handful of popcorn held halfway to my face before I realize that I got suckered into the same old thing again. I guess at the end of the day, that’s what these movies are meant to do, that little piece of escapism in a world where things always somehow manage to work out, even if the tone and colors have gotten a lot darker. Overall, the picture was fun and kept me entertained, sorry fan-boys. It’s just a movie after all…

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