By Jack Rico
The 1-4-0: #BatmanvSuperman is an important film that must be seen, but regrettably, it’s difficult not to be left with mixed emotions. Though flaws exist, the immensity of the characters and the significance of the film outweigh any negatives.
The Gist: Gotham and Metropolis’ main heroes intercross for the first time in this historic film. The movie picks up at the end of “Man of Steel” with the unquantifiable devastation left by the battle between Superman and Zod. Bruce Wayne loses many friends and along with most of the world, they blame Superman for his lack of accountability, culpability and potential threat to more human lives. His raison d’etre becomes stopping Superman… no matter the cost.
What Works: This is the most realistic depiction of true-life superhero consequences I have ever seen from DC or Marvel films. Our conditioning of superhero movies are that deaths of innocent bystanders are NEVER dealt with on any level. They’re completely ignored. Here they are not. There’s a high-level of accountability rarely tackled in this genre. It’s realism is almost disconcerting. Superman goes to court, Superman does groceries… it takes you a sec to realize how “human” director Zack Snyder has made them. Kudos for bringing that evolution forward. Speaking of Snyder, he’s not all crush colors, he does have a touch for artistry that pervades his films (i.e: Watchmen, Sucker Punch, 300). Several of his compositional frames here are just stunning to look at.
Other praiseful features reside with the wide range of talented actors in the cast, which give the movie a dimension of pop and prestige. Speaking of pops, the only sonorous pops that came from the audience at my screening were for the first appearance of Wonder Woman. To be frank, Wonder Woman was the most exciting and best part of the film. Her introduction was well set-up and the crowd was going nuts for her. I cannot wait to see Gal Gadot in her own solo film. There’s a masculinity and femininity about her that is very appealing. Marvel will regret not giving Scarlett Johansson her own movie. They could have been the studio that created the first female superhero film. A grave discrepancy that could down-the-line perceive Marvel as sexist.
The second half of Batman v Superman was very good. It’s where the movie really begins. In it, Snyder showcases some exceptional car chases and hand-to-hand combat sequences. Lamentfully, it doesn’t surpass the exorbitant amount of action in Man of Steel.
What Doesn’t Work: Batman v Superman is not a perfect movie. There are scenes that seem to appear randomly without proper exposition, the film as a whole takes long to take off, and though thorough commentary is needed in a film of this magnitude, the first hour lacks tension and high-octane entertainment value. Also, I believe the trailer gave away the excitement of some of the special scenes from the film such as when Clark meets Bruce Wayne for the first time. It turned out, well… uneventful. Here’s the thing, the pressure on this film to be extraordinary is inordinate. But when ever any one goes out to deliberately make something great, it never turns out as expected because great movies are happy accidents. I’m going to say it… Man of Steel is a better movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is even better, and arguably, the best one of them all.
Much of the film’s blemishes can be attributed to the squeezing in of too many characters in 2hrs 30minutes. The film was 3hrs, but Snyder felt 30min had to be cut and I think it negatively affected the movie. The Blu-ray’s Director’s Cut will putatively promise the full, uncensored, uncut 3hr version, which will most likely offer the better film experience because of the expanded context.
Pay or Nay: Pay. Regardless of its defects, it doesn’t diminish the overall experience. There is way more good than bad and that’s what matters, Oh, do yourself a favor and don’t stick around for post credit-scenes. There aren’t any. DC is not Marvel. In the end, anticipation, curiousity for the movie is what will ultimately drive you to to the theater this weekend. But I predict that it’ll be almost impossible for you to leave the theater without having mixed emotions. It’s not a masterpiece, but you respect the effort that went into making this the best possible movie they could. It’s an 7.5-8 out of 10. Now go get giddy and nerd out. I did.