Tuesday, March 29, 2016
When titans clash
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn't as bad as the many negative reviews suggest, but it isn't nearly as good as it could have been. One of the biggest problems is that the first ninety minutes are a bit of a slog, which there really isn't an excuse for in a superhero movie, especially one featuring the first big-screen joint appearance of Batman and Superman.
I also felt bad for all the little kids in their Batman and Superman tee shirts, being dragged along by their parents to the movie. Whether or not one thinks it's a movie of quality, it's pretty inarguable that there isn't much for the kids in Batman v Superman. And that's a shame. The movie is dark, grim, and talky, and laced with a fair amount of intense, disturbing violence.
I think the Marvel movies have shown that it's not all that hard to have both themes and plot lines adults can enjoy while including lots of elements to wow the kids. It just seems strange that Warner Bros. thought that this two-and-a-half-hour, grimy-looking cauldron of violence, nightmarish dream sequences, and muddled plotting was the way to go to launch its DC Comics cinematic universe.
Positives? The last hour of the movie has some good action (though the eventual Batman versus Superman fight is not a huge part of it, despite the film's title) and it was fun to see Wonder Woman eventually enter the fray. And all the actors did a good job.
And, hey, to be fair, one person's muddled plotting is another person's complex, multi-layered plotting, and one person's long slog to get to the point is another person's immersive storytelling. And what I saw as relentlessly grim themes and visuals will be "refreshingly adult" to others. So some people won't be bothered by some of the things that I, as well as many critics, didn't like.
But for me, I think it's sort of a shame that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit a solid double when a home run or even a grand slam (both commercially and creatively) were definitely within reach.