Saturday, April 23, 2016

Batman vs Superman

I finally saw Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice today. I'm a lifelong comic books fan. I was a collector, then an occasional reader, and now basically a nostalgic with internet access. I have volumes to say about DC and Marvel and their respective cinematic universes. It's ironically probably the thing I've written the most draft copies about lately, the reason this blog's getting new posts.

I wanted to love this movie. I really did. I questioned the selections of Zack Snyder and practically every cast member, until I resigned myself to judge the finished product instead of every berry and nut in the recipe. In one nighttime scene in a burned-out vintage stone building in Gotham, there was colored lens flare. There were dream sequences, some of past memories, but some future-telling in great detail with no explanation of how. There were several 300-style slow motion passes for no reason whatsoever. Even the soundtrack invoked tones from 300's battle scenes. Easily a dozen shots were setup specifically to up-sell the 3D glasses, which I did not buy, and their lack didn't affect the story.

More than one trailer reveals the Kryptonian monster, Doomsday, so I'll talk about him freely above the spoiler page break. His creation was completely made-up from scratch, but his depiction was great. Comic Doomsday was engineered to heal, evolving into his regeneration back from death with new resistances to what killed him. Every time movie Doomsday absorbed some devastating impact, he would soon revive like a crackling, smouldering coal, shedding skin and regrowing, larger and more durable than before. It was a subtle one-shot depiction of his centuries of evolution in the comics, one of the smartest long-story-short adaptations I've seen in awhile.

Ezra Miller's dark-haired, emo Barry Allen cameo just confuses and saddens me, but the choice of an Aquaman from Oceana's peoples is genius. Jason Momoa looks the part. If it's possible to wrest the Wayne family chemistry from Bale and Caine, Affleck and Irons did it. Affleck's Wayne was mature and convincing, and physically imposing. One comment I read online applies: "Batman doesn't just fight you, he happens to you". Gal Gadot was a highlight of the movie, in part because her character was understated and only pressed into service when the story finally, absolutely required it. She moved well and her voice was exotic and fierce. She's still smaller than any comic rendition of the character. And not just about comic book boobs; you would never see a Superman this much skinnier than the comic version. But I am still probably more excited for the upcoming WW movie than for the next chapter of this story.

That brings us to this story, and the content below is spoiler-rich.