Well… After a ridiculously long wait, was anyone really expecting THIS sort of backlash?
Critics have put serious boot into the side of BVS, tearing it to pieces like hungry dogs, in retaliation “fans” have hit back equally hard, deliberately spoiling the film in an effort to get people on the fence to get people into cinemas (“Batman does THIS, it’s really cool! Go see it!”).
Before I say anything else, I’ll say this. If you wanna see it, then see it. Don’t let anyone else put you off. Make up your own mind but go to a damn cinema. The scale demands it.
That being said, I actually bloody enjoyed this.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Marvel fan, it was because I already have the MCU and the X-Men franchise that I wasn’t betting the farm on this. Maybe I’d lowered my expectations enough by re-watching everything from Batman & Robin to Superman IV. Maybe because I wasn’t desperate for it to fail (another connected comicbook universe? It’s the death of Hollywood!) or succeed (Marvel sucks! Too much comedy! DC is for adults!) that I simply let the movie and it’s flaws just wash over me and simply just had a good time with it.
Now that doesn’t mean this is a great movie. The critics DO have a point. The DC fanatics complaint that critics aren’t “comicbook” fans is ridiculous. Bad writing is bad writing, regardless of your source material and that critics DO know. On the other hand, is the sheer viciousness of the backlash a result of comicbook movies ruling the roost for too many summers, so when a massive tent pole fails, they unsheathe their knives? Unfair if so.
Polarising is the word of the day, here.
So here are the good and bad points.
Good: Batfleck and almost everything related to him is magnificent, the performance, the origin, the suit, the gadgets, Alfred, top notch (his clearing of a room filled with armed thugs spotted in the trailer could be the greatest Batman action scene ever). The sheer amount of Easter Eggs are staggering, references, nods, whole comic book panels are recreated here. Wonder Woman, while saved fully till the end, grinning after taking a backhand from a monster 5 times her size, shines like a light. That her solo movie is finally due next year is a source of joy. The climax when *SPOILER* the Trinity joins forces, while overstuffed with CGI lightning and never coming close to the childish glee of seeing the Avengers assemble back in 2012, is still a sight to witness and the last minute adaptation of another comic book arc proves surprising. The film looks insanely gorgeous. And finally (and the one I’m gonna take shit for) Jessie Eisenburg as Lex Luthor was fine. Overplayed, definitely, but it adds another note in a rather subdued orchestra. Some will despise him, and that’s cool, but with all his frenzied, rich guy scheming, it felt good that someone was doing something different. Not all comic book movies have to be self aware, joke bombs (although I actually prefer it if the character warrants it) but gloomy doesn’t automatically mean mature.
Bad: Nothing in this movie has really been thought out, but a lot has been stuffed in. Plans, plots and arcs chug along unhurried until their conclusion, future teasing dream sequences drop in with all the subtleness of Iron Man 2 and only serve to strain the running time while random tacked on cameos for the remainder of the Justice League pop up, confusing members of the general audience (my wife was constantly asking “who’s that guy?”), yes Marvel do it too but usually AFTER the credits, not in the middle of the damn story. Attempting to do in one movie what Marvel achieved in six may have been a step too far.
The central fight between our gladiators is utter dog shit. A fight that could have been avoided with 30 seconds of dialogue yet somehow only lasts 10 minutes with most of it taken up with one of the other crawling on the floor with pain. For a film with VERSUS in the title it’s woeful.
Zack Snyder’s handling of Superman was off. He doesn’t do anything but brood and be unsure of himself. He is in a word boring and it’s like the director, already having made Man Of Steel, wanted to rather play with his new toys instead, leaving Kal-El AND Clark Kent surprisingly underutilised. Also, maybe one too many times Snyder reads from the Frank Miller bible. The Dark Knight Returns is highly regarded in comic circles, yet it’s not actually cannon, so using the more bloodthirsty aspects of certain characters seem a little out of place.
Regardless of how this all turns out at the box office we’re still guaranteed a Wonder Woman movie next year, a Suicide Squad in a matter of months and Snyder will give it all a crack again with Justice League. How this all makes you feel after this movie, however, is going to be a talking point for a while.
Me? I just enjoyed taking a wander through another universe for a change.