Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Classic Example of Nerd vs. Average Viewer?

Saw Batman v. Superman this weekend. Overall, I really enjoyed it. Seeing Superman, Batman AND Wonder Woman on screen made me squee with as much delight as seeing Avengers the first time, as it should.

Man of Steel for me was both the best Superman movie and worst Superman movie. Director  Zack Snyder still admits he finds the character boring.  In that movie, Superman is inexperienced as superhero and consequently, there's more death and destruction  then we're used to.

Batman's mistrust of the Kryptonian in Batman v. Superman comes from this. Also, the film reminds you, Bruce seemingly hasn't let go of the anger over failing to stop the death of his parents as a child. (The movie hints that the events happen sometime after the death of Robin #2 Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. No Robins are specifically mentioned so we have no idea how many this version of Batman had. Those readers who don't know anything about Batman after the '66 TV series are probably lost right now.)

Whether this was the plan all along or a response to fan reaction of Man of Steel, we will never know but Superman does experience growth which is awesome. I was worried that Batman would be overtly shoehorned into this continuation of his origin but he's just there.  (One could argue the meeting created growth opportunities for both characters...)

Jesse Eisenberg was too much like The Riddler or the Flash villain, The Trickster for my tastes but his machinations to get the title fight to happen was the purest Lutor plot ever seen in a movie. Sink California? A Kryptonite Island? Come on...   

Typically, "universe-building films," see Ironman 2 and Amazing Spider-man 2, are highly criticized for not spending too much time building future movies and not enough time shaping the the current film. Since this is the third such time, I think DC and Warner Brothers executives benefited from seeing what doesn't really work. The brief cameos of Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg were well done.

Wonder Woman, on the other hand, was in more of the movie making it obvious she was under-used. It's never made clear why she's snooping around Luthor's estate. Fans such as myself who know details of her upcoming, long-awaited,  solo film can surmise she's on the hunt for a mythical artifact but how others would know this, I have no idea.

A less well-known character Luthor's assistant, Mercy Graves, was also painfully under-used.  I had considered that maybe she could have caught Diana snooping and they could fight but there's problems here. The average viewer doesn't know who Diana is at this point in the film and the movie ends with no one, not two but three fight scenes in a row.

Superman had to fight Batman or Luthor would have his mother killed. Batman was in a pissy mood and would not listen to reason.  It wasn't until Superman gasped "Save Martha!" that there was any hesitation on his part. Both heroes have mothers named Martha.  It was ointed out to me that this fact wasn't what got Bruce to stop. it was that Clark had a mother which makes him human as opposed to a monster. I agree with this but it was the name that broke through. (With Lois running in to translate mind you...) I don't think Bruce would have yielded otherwise.

Fight number two was Batman rescuing Martha Kent (Diane Lane) from KGBeast and other Russian thugs. This was perhaps the least necessary fight scene but the one I enjoyed the most.  Trivia: Lane's ex-husband Josh Brolin was considered for the role of Batman. I wonder how the scene would have played out then?

Fight three was Superman, Batman AND Wonder Woman fighting  Luthor's  Kryptonian monstrosity Doomsday. I waffle back and forth which fight scene is least necessary. I like the title fight the least but this last one has only one merit: You see Wonder Woman in action. Bruce does find a picture of her in costume from 1918 earlier in he film. Maybe that's enough as far as universe building is concerned?  Wonder Woman could show up at the end and lasso Luthor before he can throw the switch? ::shrugs::       

In short, the movie isn't nearly as bad as the number of bad reviews would have you believe but is far from perfect...

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