I know. Movie reviews normally happen a lot closer to the release date of the film. Sorry.
Actually, my interest in this movie was low from the get go. Admittedly, I prefer Marvel to DC and the bar for superhero movies had been set pretty high by the MCU. That said, this film should have been good. It contains the three most popular DC characters and sets up what was meant to be an interconnected movie universe to compete with what Marvel are producing. But you know all that. So, rather than do a straight review I thought I’d just highlight the 3 best and 3 worst parts of the film.
- The opening third of the movie.
I walked in with low expectations. Almost every review I’d seen online suggested this was a farce. ‘News’ headlines suggested the film’s failure would drastically alter the plans for a DC shared movie universe. I knew it was going to bad BUT it was worse than I thought.
It opened with Batman’s origin (again! See below.) and then moved through a variety of scenes that barely seemed connected. It was confusing; I had no real idea about what was going on and I didn’t care for the characters.
If I was editing the film, I would cut most of this. The film seems to run for an hour more than it needed to. I blame Peter Jackson. He started this. Movie used to be 90 minutes then he came along with his sprawling three hour epics and, all of sudden, every movie has to run for as long as it possibly can. Stick to the core plot!
- Really? Do we need another origin story?
I saw an interview of sorts the other day. Someone had seen Captain America: Civil War and said that he loved the fact we don’t get another origin story for Spider-man. Why do we need one for Batman? Surely the vast majority of the people seeing the film know how/why Batman donned the cape. Even if they don’t, there’s still no need to show it – it’s a guy who fights crime dressed as a bat, what more do you need?
Yes, I understand it’s linked into the key reason Bats and Supes stop fighting (again, see below) but IS IT REALLY NECESSARY? Superman’s origin is included in the film through dialogue only, it was enough.
Spoilers – although it’s so far past the release date it’s not worth highlighting.
In the big battle (not the one at the end vs Doomsday but the one in the film’s title – the one we came to see) Superman is about to be brutally murdered by Batman when he mentions his mum’s name which also happens to be Batman’s mum’s name. This is all it takes to stop Batman in his tracks, if only his villains knew…
It’s weird. Superman already called Batman ‘Bruce’ during the fight sequence. No reaction. But he says his mum’s name and Batman can’t function anymore. Honestly, anyone with Google or Wikipedia could find out the parents’ names of a high profile public figure. It was lame.
Saving the best ‘til last
There was a lot of criticism in the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman. His other superhero film (Daredevil) was panned and he’d had a string of terrible films in front of the camera BUT he was fantastic. Reportedly, he put on 11 kilograms for the role and it shows. His Batman is a brute.
This is the most vicious, violent Batman that has hit the big screen. It’s funny, I think his and Michael Keaton’s are the best Batmen and yet their casting brought controversy before their films were screened. Adam West is a laugh but you’re not meant to take his Batman seriously. Val Kilmer was bland, George Clooney was terrible and Christian Bale started fine but the further into The Dark Knight Trilogy you get the more annoying his Bat-voice becomes.
There’s a suggestion now that Affleck will get a solo Batman movie – that, I will see.
- Jesse Eisenberg (mostly)
This guy is fantastic. I haven’t seen him anything else except Zombieland and that is a killer movie. He was brilliant in this. Yes, his portrayal would have suited the Joker or Riddler better but there is no doubting his acting chops. His Lex Luthor is the Mark Zuckerberg of villainy which is weird because I’ve just Googled him and that comparison is why some people hated him in this film – I thought it was a logical portrayal for a character often presented as a jilted CEO with a jealous streak.
Anyway, I liked him. Even if he was weird as.
- The big bash
The movie took ages to get going. I likened it to Ang Lee’s Hulk where you wait three quarters of the film to get the thing in the title. Once we get to the title fight, however, things get awesome! Batman kicks Superman’s butt (as you’d expect) and it shows how calculating and formidable he is.
Then, the DC trinity punch on with Doomsday and they look like they’re having a ball. Gal Gadot pulls these awesome faces during the battle where she gets hit and the camera slows down and focuses on her. Her face is equal parts sexy and bring-it-on; she actually looks like she’s having fun. In fact, her Wonder Woman really brings this scene together.
Look, it wasn’t that bad. I liked it but I’m not rushing to see it again. I think the main problem was that they were trying to reproduce what Marvel are doing but with their own aesthetic. The difference is, Marvel have been building towards the Avengers and the films to come since the first Iron Man movie. DC were simply trying to do too much too soon.
Hopefully Suicide Squad will right their ship.