[Warning: This review contains plot details from the film that could be considered spoilers.]
The long awaited movie that will kick start the Dc cinematic universe has finally arrived and as expected, it has started controversy.
Film critics have trashed the film from here to Timbuktu, and while their opinions are respected, I strongly disagree: Batman V Superman is a visually stunning movie, it’s like a live Alex Ross painting with living people in it. (I strongly advice you to watch it in the biggest Imax you can find )
But cinematic beauty? great composition? you can get that on most modern movies. Let’s get to what matters: The story.
Batman V Superman has the huge burden of establishing the pillars of a franchise that has to compete against the Marvel-Disney empire, and at the same time define a unique style and tone for DC movies. (hence you won’t find any after credits scenes. That be a Marvel staple folks!) That is where the pacing, editing and story might seem to destroy your senses. But you know what? Is a welcome assault!
The story begins with the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. I know We have seen this time and time again, that by now we should be numbed to it: “heck! cap them already!” However, Snyder pulled this one in such a compelling way , that it felt like I was witnessing it by the first time: The framing, the composition, the slow speeds, sound effects and visual pacing were so beautiful and brutal at the same time, that I wanted to call the police and tell them I had witnessed a murder, while checking on Arkham for an evaluation. Never has murder been portrayed with such elegance, brutality and vividness in a comic book movie.
The interplay of scenes was fast telling you that while Bruce’s parents were dying, a hero was being born.
Then we go to modern day Metropolis during the last minutes of the fight between Zod and Superman, but seen through Bruce Wayne’s eyes. Thanks to this, what seemed like a violent and senseless destruction in Man of Steel, becomes a much more personal experience thanks to the brilliant camera angles which -along with Bruce Wayne- make you another silent witness of the brutality of what was going on. We feel it close cause of the surgical cinematography that evokes how we all felt during the 9/11 attacks, and yes folks it hits really close to home. You...evil Snyder!
Then the movie goes quickly to set the pieces on the chess table: We are introduced to a quirky Lex Luthor (played by Jessie Eisenberg) which some might find annoying (including me) cause I grew up with the much more controlled, calculated Animated series Clancy Brown Luthor, but I get the need to freshen up the character, otherwise the movie would have been too dark. The comparisons he makes with gods are the best lines he has in the entire movie.
We re-acquaint with Lois Lane (played by Amy Adams) a fresh take on Alfred (played by Jeremy Irons) and the long awaited Diana Prince ( played by Gal Gadot) And yes folks, there is enough Diana but just not enough. It’s the right amount to leave you eagerly awaiting her solo movie. She is beautiful, she is a savage and we LOVE her!
I could go on and tell every bit that the movie got right, Among the few bad things I could point would be the sometimes dark cinematography, and the bullish attitude of Batman.
However, what do we know about this particular incarnation? Well, next to nothing! We don’t know how he was before, why is he so bitter, why he doesn’t care about beating, branding and even killing some goons... and maybe this movie solves it: Batman recovers his humanity just as he was about to ice the Man of Steel. (notice that after that scene, he does his best to not be lethal to his foes) Maybe that is his moment of redemption, yet we wonder...what turned him like that? Well fellas, that is what this universe will be about: Going in retrospective and see what made these heroes what they are now, and how they will overcome their differences and become the Justice League.
Ben Affleck’s Batman while sometimes too gloomy, gives a whole new dimension of humanity and strength to this new incarnation. He is not Bale, he is not Keaton, and definitely NOT Clooney (thank the bat gods!) he is his own Batman, strong, dark, powerful, a beast on knuckles angry and fearsome, while also playing a human, selfless and determined Bruce Wayne. Whether he is in or out of the suit, you want to know more about the past of this new and mysterious dark knight. (plus he has a GREAT explanation on why his voice sounds so deep while in the suit).
This writer is glad to never have jumped on the “trash Batfleck” wagon. He is an accomplished actor and director and I cannot wait to see more Batfleck. Yes, I love Batfleck.
Cavill’s Superman does what he can to shine amongst these powerhouses and delivers somewhat tormented Superman, however, as the movie progresses and plots are developed you will get to love him more and more until the final scene where -unless you have been trapped in the phantom zone- you will cry worse than that Tobey Maguire Meme. (Yes, I admit it, I cried)
Amongst the vehicles, the Batmobile shines the most. The chase scenes are performed Fast and Furious style, where it is used as a battle ram, a projectile, and a machine gun on wheels. All this while surviving a brutal head on collision with Superman. Something I would have believed the Tumbler more capable of surviving than this flimsy new bat vehicle, but alas , is a welcome new addition to the hall of fame of bat-vehicular cinematic glory.
Batman V Superman is a wild trip, full of powerful visual effects, some controversy, brilliant cinematography, well placed music score courtesy of Hans Zimmer (specially that Wonder Woman theme!) and a fast paced compelling, relatable story. You care for the good guys, and hate the bad guys, but not for clichéd comic book reasons; it’s cause you really feel the heroes have been played, you have been played, and you want vengeance. Not against Warner or Snyder, but against this whole sinister universe that has just begun to unfold in front of you...
Oh yes, have no doubt. The DC Universe HAS started. Well played Zack Snyder, well played.
Batman V Superman has opened nationwide and is rated PG-13 .
Chris ”Hunter” D.
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