Warning - Long Rant ahead about the nature of Superman and Batman. Also, minor spoilers.
It's always the job of the critic to be true to his actual feelings on a movie even if they're going to be unpopular or go against the geek group-mind. Now I'm not an actual critic, just a guy who has a blog but I like to think some of you bother to care what I think when I read this. So, I'll be straight up: I liked Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice. I liked it a lot and this is going to be a positive review in a sea of overwhelming negativity from other critics as well as most of my comic book fan circle.
So be it.
It's funny, actually, because I know exactly why this movie grinds the teeth of so many comic book fans. It's a continuation of the same sort of thought pattern which was established by Man of Steel, a movie which I had serious issues with, but got a good deal of enjoyment out of. However, the problem with Man of Steel (aside from some enormous plot holes and stupid decisions by characters that there's no defense for) is it's dark. Literally so as the movie saturates its colors and also in terms of plotting as it's a movie which reflects Superman's troubled and somber life.
|Batfleck is probably the highlight of the film. Which, admittedly, is a bit of a problem in a Superman film.|
Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice is not about Superman being a cheerful goofy boyscout trying to make the world a better place. It's about a pair of men who are trying to make the world a better place but dealing with the immense responsibility thereof. It's a perfectly valid take on Superman but people and by people, I mean geeks, have a very big desire to see what they think of as the iconic depiction of their characters onscreen.
|Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is a genius manchild psychopath--which I have no problem with.|
What does Superman vs. Batman analyze?
Okay, not much.
|Wonder Woman is a glorified cameo but what a cameo it is.|
Superman v Batman is a movie of enormous spectacle surrounded by a few character moments. It's a film about big fight-scenes and the building up to the big fight scenes. The Avengers was one long fight-scene really and people loved that movie. In fact, I have got to say I found the final battles to be quite satisfying even if I suspect many a fan will think they're rather short compared to all the hype and buildup.
|Superman's supporting cast might as well not be in this movie.|
The fact is this Superman is not trying to be God or the messianic figure of previous adaptations. He's not even trying to be the inspirational figure of hope which so many fans want him to be. He's just a guy who wants to help people and be treated as someone who can do that. Cavill captures the Clark Kent who doesn't embrace the Nietzschean morality of so many superhumans but is just trying to do his part. The fearful or worshipful attitude other people put on him is on them with Lex Luthor wanting to make Superman God rather than just accept him as a person--a very Lex Luthor sort of thing.
|Subtle mind-manipulation afoot!|
Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is a manic display of mad energy and genius which is the primary source of the film's much-needed levity. He is a psychopathic monster who sees nothing wrong with killing everyone and anyone who stands in his way but is offended at Superman's very existence. Superman being, essentially, a superhuman being who doesn't abuse his powers the way he does his genius and wealth.
Eisenberg's Lex is the kind of character who would grow up to strangle his karate instructor for winning in a match or build a suit of power armor to kill Superman. Some people wanted Bryan Cranston for the role but the problem with that is, essentially, the older mature billionaire super-genius opposing Superman in this movie is Batman.
|Batman really goes to town on Superman. It's actually kind of horrible.|
To no one's surprise, this movie is a gigantic set-up for the Justice League movie which could not be more obvious as against a certain villain set revealed via huge gigantic use of his symbol in the film. Indeed, one of the movie's biggest plotholes is they have Batman, essentially, have a psychic vision of said villain's coming which he interprets as about Superman.
Yes, I'm serious.
|"You're not the Superman we want!" "But maybe I'm the one you need." "Nope!"|
The human race is reacting to Superman like they're the humanity from the X-men movies versus the humans of the DCU and all of this actually forms a coherent theme. It's not the theme people necessarily want to see in a Superman movie but it's one I enjoyed. Superman is a perfectly valid character to analyze questions of God, responsibility, power, and worship with. It's just not particularly the character which fans wanted to see who would prefer a jokey fun film instead. To each their own is what I say.
Still, I enjoyed this film. I'm going to see it again. I had fun and that was really all that I wanted from it.