We went to see Batman v Superman Friday night. No, it did not live up to the hype, but let’s be honest: NO MOVIE COULD HAVE. We had 2 YEARS of teasers and trailers and set photos and rumors and fan theories. They made a bigger deal about this movie than the new Star Wars (except in merchandising, where Disney is KING). And while Star Wars was wonderful, BvS had no chance. Most of the plot was already known and without story to keep it going, the movie had to rely on action. Frankly, I’m getting tired of “Batman who Beats Up Criminals with His Bare Fists and Broods Over His Computer While Alfred Serves Tea and Snide Remarks.” You know what DC stands for? Detective Comics. Not Action Comics. I know the market has been flooded with Sherlock, but Batman is the Sherlock of comics. So maybe a few less fancy toys/cars/suits and “Batman’s P90X Workout Video” and more detectoring! On a scale of Catwoman to Dark Knight, I place this film well above Green Lantern, but about even with the Director’s Cut of Daredevil (which was made to focus more of crime solving than sexually charged teeter totter fights).
And you want to know the scariest thing about this assessment? Ben Affleck did an amazing job. In fact, all the actors were great. I wasn’t sure about Eisenberg as Luthor, and he did go a bit deep-endy with the psychoses, but I was pleasantly surprised. And Gal Gadot WAS Wonder Woman to her core, despite being in only a few scenes. Henry Cavill’s only real drawback is that he is too damn confident and attractive as Clark Kent.
The problems came with a disjointed story structure and (I’m sorry Hans Zimmer) a truly awful score. It was actually distracting. The music is supposed to draw you into the film, not jar you out of the moment. Mostly, though, the storyline sucked. They tried to put too much into this film, especially considering all the introspective asides they slid in there. Yes, they’re trying to set up the next movie, BUT CAN WE PLEASE STOP MAKING MOVIES TO SET UP SEQUELS?!? Have we heard about not counting chickens before they hatch? You make the first movie right, then you start thinking about sequels.
I’ve said this before and it bears repeating. DC needs to stop competing with Marvel in the cinema. They were too slow to catch on to the innovations Marvel brought to the party. Like the bonus scenes at the end of movies that can set up the next movie WITHOUT INTERRUPTING THE MOVIE YOU JUST WATCHED. Or doing origin films to build up to group films that branch off into more individual films. Or (with the exception of Spiderman) rebooting the same characters over and over again. I’m not saying Marvel is without flaws (cough cough Fantastic Four: all of them). I’m just saying they adapted faster to the market and learned from their mistakes.
If DC really wants to make a mark, they should take their heroes back to their origins. And I don’t mean yet another reboot. I mean, period cinema. Think about it. Every time they bump up the time period for Superman to land on Earth, it becomes less and less reasonable that no one would have noticed. At this point, he’s hitting Smallville in the middle of the Cold War. We were already freaked out about Sputnik blinking away in the atmosphere and an effing space ship plows into a field without a single military/government official checking it out? Not to mention how much harder it is to adopt a kid you find in a field. But that kind of stuff is reasonable back in the 30s, especially around the Depression when there were all sorts of parent-less children popping up. Let’s also keep in mind that with face recognition software, Superman’s secret identity would be almost impossible to keep.
And that’s just Superman’s side of it. It would be really refreshing to see a Batman movie that isn’t geared toward gear. Yes, as a vigilante, he’s a showman with the cape and the car and the smoke packs. But that’s become all he is now.
That’s why Bruce Wayne is supposed to trump Tony Stark. Except the movies have conveniently failed to illustrate the last three items on the list. Because Batman is a super hero and super hero movies are synonymous with action movies. Apparently, no one wants to watch a movie about a Sherlock Holmes who also kicks ass (wait, there was that one…or two…). At least, not if he’s wearing a cape and mask.
So DC, I recommend you take your hero tropes and put them back in the nostalgic past where they don’t need to get in a shoving match with Marvel over who can senselessly destroy more sets.
And in other news, I am an awful person. I giggled through the entire opening scene depicting the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne. But it’s not my fault. It’s casting’s fault.
“So who should we try to get for Bruce’s Dad?”
“An actor who doesn’t mind dying in the opening scene?”
“No, too obvious. He dies in everything.”
“Jeffrey Dean Morgan?”
“PERFECT. Get his agent on the phone ASAP.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The American Sean Bean.