Saturday, April 02, 2016

Batman vs Superman

Hey There

Far be it from me to be swimming against the tide of the loudest opinion on the internet, but that's as far as I am with this post. You've been warned, then - if you wish to read more hate on the subject above then this is not the post you are looking for......

It’s been about a week or so, look you see, since Batman vs Superman got a cinematic release. In that time there has, to be sure, a couple of thousand of meandering, somewhat aimless voices on the internet, howling and crying and wailing about how the film is awful, how the film has been made deliberately bad just to attack them personally and how anyone who has the nerve to actually enjoyed it should be burned at the stake, followed by their names being placed on the sex offenders register. Well, strike the match and dip the ink, then, as despite some flaws (one major one in particular) I found it all really rather entertaining.

Following on from the above, a quick, spoiler free summary type of review? Sure. The fears that this would either be overloaded with too many characters and that the film would be a half, “to be continued” sort of thing were mostly incorrect. Whilst it’s far from perfect, it does the job of entertaining and made at least me look forward to more.

Plot? It picks up around the final scenes of Man Of Steel, where Superman and General Zod pretty much totally knack the city of Metropolis in a battle to the death. In this case, we see it from a ground level, mostly from the perspective of Bruce Wayne, who is rushing around trying to save as many people as he can from the carnage and destruction the two super beings are leaving in their wake.

Bruce Wayne is left as one of many who do not trust this Superman. He is, after all, someone with the power to wipe out all of humanity. He believes the world would be better off, as in safer, without Superman around, and so sets out to try and work out how to destroy him through the conduit of his alter ego, Batman. At the same time, a wealthy, somewhat eccentric billionaire industrialist called Lex Luthor is having pretty much the same idea, except to do it in a way that has a greed feeding spin for him.

Batman, with the intelligence the character is normally associated with, believes he has worked out a way to face Superman and beat him, around about the same time as Lex Luthor clocks that holding the two women in his life captive is the way to manipulate Superman to do his bidding. Which turns out to be to force him to fight Batman to the death, giving him enough time to unleash his own Superman killing device. Well, sort of device.

What does this film get right, or most right? Bruce Wayne and Batman. Ben Affleck has proven to be sensational casting. He is superb in both roles, helped by the fact that the script and story allow him to be absolute badass. Whilst there’s been not much wrong with other presentations – Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy in particular – this is that whole dark, mean and menacing approach many have wanted. There’s talk of Affleck doing a “standalone” Batman film, please let this be true.

The introduction and performance of Wonder Woman is a close second. Despite the fears of loads of super heroes being thrown into the film, she’s the only one to feature with any particular substance to it, and it’s very welcome. Wonder Woman has a subtle yet sensible introduction and, well, the whole thing works exceptionally. I believe we are indeed getting a Wonder Woman on her own film,. I am really looking forward to it on the basis of this.

Superman? This is where we get to the hot debate. A lot of people didn’t like what they did with the character in Man Of Steel. They will really hate this. I love the Christopher Reeve version of Superman as much as anyone, but I did quite like the added dimensions and the psychology they introduced in Man Of Steel. It continues here, and yes, I quite liked the struggle or if you like wrestle that this superior being faces.

Actually, I really like the take on Superman here. On a superficial level the debate around him by humans sums up modern life – a great deal of debate is carried out and opinion is held, despite the fact that – seemingly – no one could do a damned thing about it if they didn’t like what he did. It’s not that Superman fights with himself to be either good or evil, it’s more that he is troubled by the fact that he cannot do clear cut “good” as there is always a consequence to it..

Superman’s dedication, dependence and outright reliance on Lois Lane feels a bit much at times, or at least it does right up until an impressive scene which features a very welcome return of Kevin Costner comes along and explains why that’s the case.

What’s the biggest problem with this film? Lex Luthor. Dear me. He is without doubt the most pointless, outclassed baddie since Bennet in Commando, and he is subject to a terrible, awful, cringe worthy performance from the otherwise very talented Jesse Eisenberg. It’s like they said “well, Kevin Spacey was pretty rubbish in the role in Superman Returns, but let’s see if we can go one worse”.

I am imagining that most who really didn’t like the film did not like it because of just how bad the portrayal and presentation of Luthor was. The scene where he gives a speech at some sort of library opening was so bad that I was sorely tempted to give up on the film then and there.

Another complaint I have seen a lot is that for a film called Batman vs Superman there isn’t a great deal of the two actually fighting. That might be the case in terms of overt fisticuffs, but the way I watched the film it was basically all of their two distinctly different approaches to making the world a better places being contrasted against each other that was the point of conflict. If the Star Wars fanboys had got their way, Episode III would have been all Darth Vader just wandering around the galaxy twatting people with his fancy laser sword. Just like that would have been, if this film was purely Bats and Supes punching each other, it would have been dull and boring.

The above isn’t to say the film is without action. There are plenty of sequences, and they are all rather smart. The Batman fight sequences in particular are, as I mentioned earlier, impressive and awesome.

What about the threatened introduction of a dozen or so super heroes? Well, it sort of happens and it doesn’t. There’s a brief scene where evidence of other superior to humans beings is seen, hinting at what is to come in future films without really weighing this one down. If you want my spoiler take on it, Flash looks crap, Aquaman looks awesome, Cyborg could be quite smart. If all three are handled the way Wonder Woman was when they’re introduced, happy days.

As for a character that won’t be getting introduced in any future film, I see that the hint at the trailer was in fact correct – Robin is already dead, so those hardcore fans who hate the character need not fear about his introduction or hope he dies.

Sure, Chris O’Donnells’ portrayal of Robin was absolutely awful in them two films, but I don’t know why this translated into an all out hatred of the character all together. But hey, they made it clear he wasn’t going to be in these films to please such fanboys, and but of course this was not enough to please the fanboys.

Do I recommend Batman vs Superman as a film to watch for entertainment and excitement? Absolutely. I get why some have not liked it much – any many of them need to accept that there’s no way a film of this nature or with this budget would be made to reflect somewhat obscure “graphic novels” from the 80s. I really don’t care for how close it is to this comic or that, and for the most part I tried to watch it without thinking of how it was compared to other goes at Batman or Superman. In it’s own right, then, it was, for me, very entertaining indeed.

Going on what I have seen on the internet it feels like I am in a minority by enjoying Batman vs Superman. Going on the box office figures, however, I feel like I am very much in the majority group of people who rather enjoyed it.

So, there you have it. With the internet awash with complaints and airings of grievances by people upset that the film was not exactly how their great idea for the film was, I thought I’d throw some balance at it all, since I enjoyed it. As ever I can but hope that this perspective on it was of use to someone!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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