Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016 – Zack Snyder)


“Fuckin’ Amy Adams,” declared the chief bro’nerd as he left the cinema “She’s in fuckin’ everything.” One of his minions giggled. “mumble, mumble…at least Wonder Woman…mumble, mumble…not long till ‘Civil War’.” snivelled the deputy bro’nerd, desperate for approval despite the carefully cultivated air of ambivalence that surrounded him.

Amy Adams.  That’s who’s on the hit list for the nerds.  Amy Adams, who is a pleasantly bland screen presence (or more accurately, a promising charismatic actress who has never portrayed a significant role on screen, due to…y’know…misogyny) does not cut the mustard for these nerds.  If only she was bald and painted blue…only then would she be an acceptable female face in these movies.

For the nerds have spoken, and like Fantastic Four before it, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is deemed to be ‘one of the bad ones’.  God forbid you should care for it, for this film is not worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Thor 2: Return of Thor, or Ant-Man, or episode 2.12 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  What criteria has led to this decision?  Why is this corporate commercial not as good as the other corporate commercial?  The answers are only to be found in a crusty issue of Giant-Size Man Thing when read in direct sunlight.

On the diamond-lined corridors of the internet, a greasy content provider asked two movie stars about the bad reviews of their movie.  Batfleck looked bored.  But as all cinema is open to interpretation, this visual was taken to be a sign of his immense sorrow, and this video was chopped and changed, and Sad Affleck was born.  And no one, no one, thought to say that the pathetic creep, one of the legion nerds, who asked this question was an utter douche.  Because who does that to two men who are just doing their job and making an entertaining film?

Does it matter?  Because talking around this film has become as prevalent as talking about this film.  Sad Affleck, opening weekends, defying expectations, Marvel vs. DC – all this noise.

It is an entertaining film.  Batfleck plays the role as a very sad, sexy James Bond, living a life of designer suits and fast cars.  And is actually allowed to have meaningless sex, with no hint of shame or self-loathing that usually characterises these roles/(heroes?).  Dancing around him is Jeremy Irons, playing Alfred as a creep and drunk.  This is what spending your life in cave will do to you.  And Jesse Eisenberg is a delight as a childish, spoiled Lex Luthor.  Finally, liberties are being taken with the source material.  They’re comicbooks everyone.  One step up from toilet paper.  They are not the gospel.  Let’s fuck about with them if we’re going to make them into movies.

Superman has always been a somewhat heavy-handed Jesus Christ allegory (and this movie pauses at several moments to whack out the ol’ Christianity) so it’s interesting to have this particular Jesus to be one of the wilderness and Gethsemane.  The gospel was written by god himself; wouldn’t our gospel be of a god who admits that he doesn’t owe us anything.  Wouldn’t our god reject grace?  Hope is for idiots; I like a Superman who offers none to us.

The fight scenes lack the dynamic video game quality of Man of Steel, and that can lead to a level of sluggishness in the last half hour.  But like Creed earlier this year, and many of the best DTV movies of the last decade, it seeks to present the physicality and movement of punches and kicks in long continuous takes.  Batman mullers his opponents, barely turning from one to another as they collapse around him.  There’s a messiness to the final fight scene, but it is made up for the fact that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman seems to actually be enjoying herself (and isn’t it interesting that the perfect woman should be a Zionist fashion model?).

It is about five different films in one (the introduction of Batfleck, the sequel to Man of Steel, the introduction of Wonder Woman ahead of her solo film next year, the inevitable throw forward to the Justice League film, and the actual Batman v Superman nonsense) but so what?  It was a heck of a lot of fun to watch and I for one can’t wait to see the version of this movie that is half an hour longer.

Seen at the BFI IMAX – 70mm presentation.  It’s great to see such a big deal being made out of the different ways to see this film – in London I’ve seen digital, 35mm, 70mm, IMAX and 3D presentations available in various different cinemas.  Ticket cost about £22.

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