My promise: No spoilers. And I will not approve any comments with spoilers.
I’ve been a superhero fan for a long time, but I need to put a disclaimer on that and admit that I have never read the comic books. I guess I’ve been a superhero MOVIE fan for a long time.
They fascinate me — this disconnect between regular human beings and those people, whether aliens, meta humans, mutants, or just really strong dudes (Batman) who feel a burden to protect the rest of us is intriguing and it draws me in.
Plus, visual effects galore, stuff blows up, and they tend to pick really good looking actors to play all the superheroes (I’m sure the women are good looking, too…. but I am so easily distracted by Chris Evans that… well…. I got distracted again).
I digress. I was here to talk about Batman vs. Superman.
This movie has taken a bit of a hit in the media in the weeks coming up to its release. Rotten Tomatoes is not nice to this interpretation of the classic DC Characters at all. Mind you… is Rotten Tomatoes ever nice? I don’t even know. I typically avoid reading reviews for anything until after I’ve formed my own opinion. (That is, for watching or reading anything — if it’s something I can use that might be a crappy product, I certainly read reviews a-plenty before I buy.) I’ve been reviewing books for a little over a year now, and I won’t read a review of a book before I’ve both read it and written my own review. I like to form my own thoughts and not be influenced by what might be cool or uncool. I feel the same way about movies.
My first thought is: There was a lot of concern, outrage, whatever you want to call it… over the decision to cast Ben Affleck as Batman. Too many chick flicks under his belt some said. Well, perhaps it was all that experience (though he’s completely experienced in other genres as well — I have always been an Affleck fan) that let him bring a level of emotion to Batman that I haven’t seen in a while. Christian Bale was great and all, I mean… “I’m Batman” will always sound like Christian Bale to me.
Fun fact: Did you know Christian Bale is British? I heard an interview with him once and it blew my mind.
As much as I loved The Dark Knight trilogy, and I liked Bale’s Batman, Ben Affleck brought this element of emotion and tortured anguish to the role that we have all always known should be there, but as long as I’ve been watching Batman movies (full disclosure: haven’t seen all of them) I haven’t seen one where the tortured anguish was played out as well as in the eyes and on the face of Ben Affleck. I can’t say too much without spoiling it, but I hope it’s not just my love for Affleck getting in the way here — I thought he was a fantastic choice… but then, I did from the beginning. I thought Henry Cavill also did well with his portrayal of emotion, but I haven’t seen him in anything else, so I didn’t have a barometer to compare him to.
Watching the two heroes internally battle their compasses and where their needles sat on the right vs wrong, good vs evil spectrum was fascinating. Both had equal disdain for each other, and had to navigate what that looked like, while also fighting their own personal emotional demons. Both thought the other was going too far in their quest for justice, but of course it’s much deeper than that… and I’ll leave it at that.
Also… can we talk about Lex Luthor for a second? What a psychopath… and I mean, good villains usually are… but I’m on Jesse Eisenberg’s side here, too… since watching the film last night I’ve read a few reviews not pleased with his performance either, but I thought he nailed it.
This is not a happy-go-lucky film, but then, I’m always surprised when someone says they went to see a Batman movie and they leave going “it was so serious!” ….. Do you know who Batman is? If your measuring stick for what a superhero movie should look like is a Marvel/Disney collaboration, I encourage you to check that at the door of the theatre. Don’t get me wrong — I am a Marvel movie fan! For sure! But they’re not the same.
I thought it was refreshing though, unlike Christian Bale’s Batman, to not see a philandering, money-dropping, party-going Bruce Wayne in this movie, but instead a driven, passionate, focused, tortured Wayne… where we got a glimpse into what life in the head of Bruce Wayne must be like.
At the same time, it was nice to see a Clark Kent that could do wrong. Perry White was on his case at many times throughout the movie, and that’s not usually a side of the Superman narrative I’ve seen. It was also nice to see a Superman who wasn’t always making the right choice, and always doing everything perfectly — it humanized Superman… which, I understand, is ironic… because he’s not even human. But I liked it.
My final three thoughts are this:
- Don’t go to the drive-in to see this movie. That was my plan yesterday — my best friend and I were going to go to the drive-in and celebrate its having re-opened after the winter last weekend. But I think, being such a literally dark movie (it was also figuratively dark, but I’m talking dark scenes, not a ton of light, no splashy colours… dreary…) it would be a challenge to see really well at the drive-in. Maybe I’m wrong… but I really enjoyed it in 3D anyway.
- Don’t read reviews before you go. Or at least, if you have/are (you’re reading this after all…), take them with a grain of salt and don’t let them sink in and formulate an opinion for you.
- Don’t stay to the end of the credits. There’s nothing there. I know we’re all used to Marvel/Disney giving us teasers for the sequel, or a bit of a teaser trailer for whatever their next installment is…. but the only teasers you’ll get here are embedded within the movie itself — so pay attention, and save yourself the 3.76 hours of credits that follow the film 😉
I leave you on a much funnier note…. Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck. Did you see this video?
This is as funny as it will get. By far.