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Batman v. Superman


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#1 The Crawling KingSnake

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 02:10 PM

Who's seeing the moving this weekend?

 

I saw Man of Steel and while it was good, it was lacking something.  Plus, I missed the classic Superman score!  You have to have Superman theme in any Superman movie! 



#2 billdore

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 03:10 PM

All the early reviews are pretty negative so far...



#3 J.C.

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:16 PM

There's such a weird disconnect between regular fans who saw it at early screenings (hugely positive, for the most part), and the critics, who seem to have had their knives out for Snyder and company from the moment the project was announced.  Now, perhaps many of those fans were just basking in the glow of being at a premiere or whatnot, and completely turned off their critical thinking caps.  Or perhaps many of the Tweets I've been seeing were Warner Bros. plants.  But I'm not sure what to think of many of the reviews, because some are stating it doesn't have anywhere near enough action, and some are saying it has far too much.  It does seem as though a good percentage of critics only respond to more lighthearted treatments of comic book material, and simply would never be receptive to the idea of two "heroes" aggressively going after one another.

 

I hate when people make this a Marvel vs. DC thing.  Personally, I don't have any allegiance to either company (have never been a comics reader), though I would state that I've been interested in the iconography of the Batman character, his city, and his Rogues Gallery for a while.  Don't feel one way or the other about Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, etc., and am not particularly interested in seeing Batman and Co. battle large-scale, intergalactic villains (I prefer the micro to the macro, and loopy psychology over superpowers).  And I enjoy some of the actors in the Marvel movies, but usually only when they team up (didn't think much of either Thor film, Cap 1, The Incredible Hulk, Ant Man, or the second and third Iron Man movies), and mostly just for the comedy. 

 

So, basically, if the lousy reviews dampen the opening weekend box office of BvS, or negative word-of-mouth from regular moviegoers causes a big second-weekend drop-off, this stuff will take care of itself.  Either Warners will put a pin in Justice League (set to start filming in early April!), or at the very least, find another, more well-regarded director to take over the project.

 

One hopeful thing I've heard, even in many of the negative reviews, is that Affleck really pulls off Bruce Wayne/Batman.  He looks the part, he's built himself up physically, he's aged into an appropriate degree of gravitas, and they finally devised a suit (not the big metal one, the regular one) that allows him and his stunt double to move around quickly.  So, what we've got here is the closest visual approximation of the comic version of Batman yet (notwithstanding that this version is apparently more nasty than earlier incarnations).  Which is all to say, if BvS underperforms commercially, and Leto and Robbie deliver well enough as Joker and Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, perhaps we'll get an Affleck-directed (all three of his films have drawn raves) solo Batman outing instead of a Justice League film than a lot of people (and most critics, I would imagine) simply don't want.  Because we know Batman is Warners' cash cow (with Harry Potter in the past), and they'll always devise a way to bring him back, and there remain plenty of villains in that mythology that they've barely accessed in a live-action format.  But they've always got to bring it back to The Joker in the end.

 

Anyways, I had already bought a ticket for a Thursday IMAX showing.  I'm sure I won't love it, but I doubt I'll hate it.  There's too much ridiculous hyperbole dancing around these things ("Best ever!", "Worst ever!"), and many people can't seem to decide what version of Batman they want to see ("It's too dark!", "It's too campy!").  I prefer taking a more restrained, evenhanded approach.  I'm going to try to clear my head of everyone else's opinion of the damn thing, and see where it takes me.



#4 JellyRoll Baker

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:13 AM

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#5 J.C.

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:55 AM

People always pay attention to the percentage, and not the average grade, on Rotten Tomatoes.  Anyways, I've seen the film, and I've written a review that I posted on another board, but I'm gonna let some other folks read it to check for grammatical errors.  I can completely understand why the critics would not be receptive to that film.  That said, there are many, many comic book movies I would rate below it.



#6 J.C.

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 02:21 PM

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

 

While the third act of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice features a fair amount of standard-issue CGI blockbuster carnage, the majority of the film which precedes it is a bit unusual in its approach, for a number of reasons.

 

For one, the film doesn't open with the typical, playful superhero set piece, to convey to the audience the hero's powers, fighting style, and relationship to the world around him.  Instead, we're presented with a disaster film scenario, as Bruce Wayne encounters a series of collapsing buildings -- caused by two distant, warring aliens in the sky -- from ground level. From a technical standpoint, it's masterfully done, and it immediately establishes the central conflict between the titular protagonists, at least from Bruce Wayne's side of things.

 

For another, there are very few extended action sequences in the first two acts featuring the characters in costume, an attempt to establish their psychology as men, one cynical and disillusioned by what he deems as his failed attempts to positively influence society, the other feeling like an outsider who will never be embraced by the public-at-large, no matter how many clearly heroic feats he manages. This approach is admirable, but it's bound to test the patience of viewers who want their action spectacle at regular intervals, the hallmark of most (good and bad) blockbuster fiction.

 

Finally, though Superman and Batman are usually depicted as sunshine and darkness, because this version of Superman isn't fully integrated into -- and accepted by -- society, and hasn't completely come into his own as a force of goodness, there's less of an immediate contrast between the two.  This keeps the balance of sympathy from shifting too far from one side to the other, but hangs a morose cloud over much of the film.  Who to root for? What to root for?

 

Contrary to what some critics may be saying, overall, this is more of a mixed bag than anything else, nowhere near being among the weakest of its kind.  There's thematic ambition at play, most of the performances are pretty solid, and, in my estimation, there are only a few unintentionally cheesy lines of dialogue in the mix (I'm generally fine with villains monologuing, though, so your mileage may vary on that). But it does lack colour and a greater sense of personality, and being mostly set at night, fails to effectively delineate between Gotham City and Metropolis, which is surprising, coming from a generally visually stylish (if deficient in other notable areas) director like Zack Snyder.

 

Though the mostly dour film doesn't permit him the widest range of emotional expression, Ben Affleck makes for a fine Batman. He effectively conveys the droll, weathered, cynical playboy personality (seemingly not an act for Wayne here, as it was in Christopher Nolan's trilogy), and is a particularly nasty and fearsome Dark Knight, with a modulated, but not excessively growly voice. Some viewers have complained that he willfully kills thugs in the film, though I think if you're paying close attention, you'll realize that the most notable moment of gunplay is a dream sequence, and others are edited in such a way to suggest other outcomes. However, this version of Batman is certainly less methodical, and more brutal, than previous incarnations, and won't hesitate to send criminals straight to the hospital with a broken limb or a concussion. He's also more of a detective than in recent entries, which will please those who'd prefer that traditional element of the character not be cast aside.

 

Henry Cavill looks the role of Superman, but as in Man of Steel, isn't the most charismatic actor, and does very little to distinguish between his two alter-egos. He has adequate chemistry with Amy Adams (as Lois Lane), which serves the film's third act well enough, but his work in the film isn't particularly distinctive, partly because we're often seeing him from the somewhat misguided Wayne's perspective.

 

Gal Gadot is featured sparingly, but she generates enough sly intrigue to suggest that her solo Wonder Woman film -- assuming the budget is kept in check -- could be a modest success.

 

Jesse Eisenberg is, as always, a divisive figure as Alexander Luthor (son of the "original" Lex?). He's neurotic and twitchy, with bouts of social anxiety, and a determined bid to establish all Gods as invariably corruptible. Some might suggest he's not a particularly intimidating villain, but that hardly seems to be the intent of the picture, as he's mostly there to move the chess pieces around the board, and just be agitating, which he most certainly is.

 

Jeremy Irons (as Alfred), Laurence Fishburne (as Perry White), Diane Lane (as Martha Kent), and Holly Hunter (as a U.S. Senator) provide able support, as always.

 

As with most blockbusters of this nature, some intriguing themes may be present, but they're still expected to deliver the spectacle, often subverting or diminishing said themes in the process. These types of films simply aren't built to go the distance with rich  and/or complicated sociopolitical commentary; a lot of those elements are simply window-dressing, and the viewer is able to access and appreciate them at whatever level they choose.

 

This film features, far and away, the most elaborate and kickass Batman fight sequence in live-action film history. No, I'm not speaking of his fight with Superman, which is certainly visually striking and effective, but limited somewhat by the cumbersome nature of his mechanical Batsuit. I'm talking about the sequence briefly featured in the final theatrical trailer. It absolutely evokes the style and impact of the critically-acclaimed Arkham series of videogames, with Batman using his various gadgets to fling wooden boxes into assailants, and slam thugs into walls and floorboards. Even better, though it was originally assumed (by me) to be an early establishing set piece (see the second paragraph of this review), it actually occurs much later, and has genuine, time-sensitive emotional stakes.

 

Snyder's handling of vehicular action is far less effective. As with many modern action filmmakers, he shoots too close, and makes far too many cuts, obscuring the spatial relations of the Batmobile to other vehicles, and robbing the sequence of visual pleasure and impact. While director Christopher Nolan was criticized for choppy editing and too-basic choreography with his Batman films' hand-to-hand combat, he actually delivered the goods with his Batmobile sequences better than Snyder does here. Which is a little surprising, as Nolan's always been more of a suspense-thriller, than action, director.

 

Though the psychology of Batman wanting to kill Superman is built up to a reasonable degree over the course of the film (he still seems a bit petty and singleminded, but that's part of his character makeup anyways), and Superman's engagement in the fight urgent if not entirely convincing, I wondered how the film would handle the issue of them sorting out their differences to fight a common enemy. What piece of dialogue would be used to cause a character to turn a corner, and not finish off his opponent? I have to admit, I actually liked what they used here, one simple but effective word to put them on common ground, sharing a common sense of humanity.

 

The fight with Doomsday is what it is. Some may single out "bad CGI", but to me, that would suggest certain elements not blending convincingly with one another. This is simply an overabundance of loud, assaultive CGI, a blur of visual effects, if you will. Not my favourite style of filmmaking, and one amongst many reasons I'd rather watch a Ben Affleck-directed Batman film, featuring human villains and their wacky, deranged personalities, than a Justice League film with all sorts of weird intergalactic entities, invariably created, or enhanced, in a computer, and more broadly drawn. Give me the micro over the macro any day of the week.

 

As this film has not been well received by most critics (understandably, because it doesn't have enough thematic unity and character development, and is too loud and overpowering with its third-act visual effects overload), the fate of Zack Snyder's Justice League Part 1 hangs in the hands of the general moviegoer. While the poor reviews may dampen Batman v Superman's opening weekend box office numbers slightly, general word-of-mouth will determine its ultimate fate. I'm ambivalent on the subject, because as I said, I'd like for Affleck to get another crack at playing Batman (preferably opposite Jared Leto's Joker and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, should their performances in Suicide Squad deliver the goods), but I really don't care if we ever see a Justice League movie. That said, I realize a number of hardcore DC comics fans do want that picture, but I think it's clear that a more accomplished, well-liked filmmaker, who is more adept at handling both drama and action, needs to take the helm to improve its chances with critics, and of course, the public-at-large.

 

At any rate, I plan to give this film one more look, in 2D. I saw it in IMAX, near the front of the theater, and as per usual, the 3D created some annoying side effects that I found distracting at times. I'd like to see how the cinematography and visual effects look in their traditional form, before putting this title to rest.

 

3-Stars-out-of-5


Edited by J.C., 25 March 2016 - 02:22 PM.


#7 J.C.

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 02:24 PM

I apologize if there are any spacing issues in the above text.  When I cut-and-pasted the review from the other site, it came out all garbled, and I did my best to sort it out, but I don't have time to double-check everything.



#8 stripes42

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 06:12 PM

you've probably already seen this but it made me  :lol: 

 


Edited by stripes42, 25 March 2016 - 06:14 PM.


#9 billdore

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 08:04 PM

^that's good.  :)

 

I haven't seen this yet, and I imagine my viewing will be via home release.  However, Supes 1-3 have been in heavy cable rotation these last couple days, so I've dropped in and out of them and put Returns into the player as well.  I found I rather liked Returns more than on the first couple viewings.  It's been probably five years since I've watched it, and I could only really pick on minor points.  I did a little looking around at old reviews and found mostly minor complaints as well--pacing and Routh's performance (while certainly not bad) being too much of an impersonation of Reeve.  In contrast to Man of Steel, I find I prefer Returns by a large margin; even the Rotten Tomatoes % balances in that manner.  I'm a little surprised Cavill was given another chance, quite frankly, and might have been persuaded to see the film with both a new Batman and new Superman actor.

 

(And, JC, I agree . . . an Affleck-directed Batman film would probably be worth it.)


Edited by billdore, 25 March 2016 - 08:07 PM.


#10 J.C.

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 09:14 PM

you've probably already seen this but it made me  :lol:

 

I actually feel a little bad for Affleck right now.  Interviewers shouldn't be asking the actors about reviews, especially during the promotional period.  No matter how good their individual work may be (and, as I noted, Affleck is solid in his role), they don't have much control over the finished product.  Have a little go at Snyder if you want, but it's bad form to discuss Rotten Tomatoes and whatnot with the actors.

 

billdore, I think both Superman Returns and Man of Steel have their issues:  first one's kind of bland, second one's got a generic villain and a headache-inducing visual style.  Critics are just so stuck on the Christopher Reeve version of Superman that they don't seem willing to accept anything outside of that familiar format.  Routh is OK in SR, but he's much better as the Vegan Bassist in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. :lol:


Edited by J.C., 25 March 2016 - 09:18 PM.


#11 imbenurnot

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 02:00 PM

I'm looking forward to seeing this, I just need to find the time. While the Man of Steel certainly has its problems, I think it's impossible for it or the new movie to survive the deluge of internet criticism Man of Steel received. Most of those criticisms tend to be of the "well that's not how I would have done it!" variety, rather than "this is a broken piece of cinema."



#12 J.C.

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 04:15 PM

Some folks just want these things to be glib and jokey, and stick to a familiar, traditional format.  Whatever the film's flaws (and it certainly has a number of them), it does take creative chances.



#13 joeldalley

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 09:56 PM

Eisenberg was mis-cast and then added further insult to that injury with his off-key portrayal. Far too much channeling of Ledger (and I'm already not nearly as impressed by Ledger's Joker as most seem to be) and trying to be "unhinged." Just a double whammy. A turd sandwich. The wrong man for the role, and played poorly. Too young, first of all.

 

Anyway, with that major gripe aside, I liked this movie. A lot. A lot more than last summer's boring Avengers movie. More than X-Men First Class (which I did like--haven't seen Days of Future Past yet). More than Deadpool, I dare say. More memorable. More impact than Deadpool. More to take away. It's really funny how this worked out, because we decided based on 30% RT to avoid it, accidentally went to wrong theater to watch some other movie, and this thing just happened to be starting (in 2D mind you, because I don't like headaches) right then. Maybe I'm not thinking critically and still riding a bit high from the pleasure of the experience, but I would rate this above 3/5. More of a 7/10 rating. Wasn't expecting any of what I saw today.



#14 J.C.

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 02:32 AM

Wow, Joel.  I thought you were going to tear this thing to shreds.  I half-expected you to insult me for giving it a 3-out-of-5. :lol:

 

Though Eisenberg may have been influenced somewhat by Ledger's Joker, I'm more given to believe he was doing an impression of his good friend Max Landis, a young screenwriter (Chronicle, American Ultra) who a lot of people find really irritating.

 

Thematically, yeah, it's got far more on its mind than those other films.  Doesn't mean all of those ideas gel into a cohesive vision, but they're there, which I appreciate on some level.

 

And regarding the Rotten Tomatoes percentage, seeing as the critics seem to have reset the bar for comic book films, can we drop Thor and Iron Man 2 down to 10% now? ;)



#15 Maschine Man

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 05:07 PM

It wasn't that bad, critics can fuck off. 

 

Marvel produces the same film every year and people praise them each and every time without fail. They have got so stale and predictable. At least this one is trying to fold something into the mix (a real world reaction). 

 

That being said the trailer has a lot to answer for, spoiling the whole damn ting. 



#16 J.C.

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 03:06 AM

I'm glad to hear I'm not totally insane for thinking it's OK.

 

I get why a number of folks would prefer Superman be depicted in a kinder, more noble fashion, but even if a hero like that existed, a fair percentage of the population, particularly these days, would be suspicious of -- or even threatened by -- them regardless.



#17 imbenurnot

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 06:43 AM

I give the movie points for being different, and I'm pretty sure I liked it. I think I want to see it again, but that will have to wait for home media. I wish I had gotten more of a feel for what this universe's Gotham City is like, since it didn't get much character compared to the Nolan movies, but I understand that there wasn't much time. I'm totally on board with the Superman suspicions, I thought that was done very well, as was the Bruce-perspective opening. The movie is far better than reviews would lead one to believe, though.

I've also been watching Young Justice on Netflix, which is significantly better than either Snyderverse movie.



#18 Maschine Man

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 01:00 PM

In the Red Letter Media review they complained about the fact that the movie was trying to take on a more real-world approach to the film "we live this every day" kinda stuff. This really bothers me because it's always been a frustration with the Marvel films that the people that they are "saving" aren't ever mentioned unless absolutely necessary. 

 

I also think a lot of people have been hating on the different takes of Batman and Superman saying "it's not part of their character" which is fucking bullshit because they don't owe the comics a cent. For me I was asking "why is batman so bitter and angry". You can't treat this like a standalone film, it's going to have sequels (that act more like prequels) and I feel like everyone should have been aware of this. I was. I assume there will be a Batman film that explains some of the things that seemed to be missing. I also expected the Justice League stuff to come into play at some point. Maybe it could have been done better, but my friend got so hyped when that part came on. 

 

I just hope that in the DCCU (ugh) they keep the aliens to a minimum. 



#19 J.C.

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 03:50 PM

I think they're calling it the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

 

I can understand people complaining about Batman actually killing thugs in the film (mostly in the vehicular sequences, but still), but clearly that's meant to convey that he's hit rock bottom, in terms of disillusionment and rage, and that he's perhaps betraying his standard value system.

 

If they go ahead with that Justice League film (we'll have to see how much the film's box office drops in the second weekend), it's reputed to be significantly lighter in tone.  You could already get a sense of that tonal shift in the third act of this one.



#20 J.C.

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 02:39 AM

This.......appears to be considerably less earnest in nature than BvS.  It also has Harley Quinn with a giant mallet, which is always good fun.

 






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