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ISSUE NO. 756
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ROBBY REED REVIEWS
"Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice"
So, what's the deal with Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice? Is it as bad as some reviews say? What does a real, true, comic fan think of the movie?

Time to find out! Because in this special 80-pg. Giant issue of DIAL B for Blog, I, Robby Reed, creator of this blog and author of this sentence, and going to review the movie in depth, and at length. And I'm not going to savage it. Why? Because I don't want to! Because I liked parts of it! Get ready reader, because this one is going to surprise you -- I went into this movie with gutter-level expectations, and I came out a bit of a fan. The movie is two and a half hours long --I thoroughly enjoyed about 30 minutes of it, and hated most of the rest. Now I'll break it down in detail.

WARNING: This review is CHOCK FULL of spoilers. In fact, I mention every almost single one. You have been warned, reader!
INTRO TO ROBBY's REVIEW of SUPERMAN V BATMAN!
SUPERMAN V BATMAN, originally at least, was intended to be a sequel to MAN OF STEEL. I should mention up front that I absolutely hated MAN OF STEEL in every way.

I don't think I enjoyed a single second of that movie. It started right at the beginning, with Russell Crowe as Superman's father on a planet Krypton populated by Ray Harryhausen-type monsters. It got worse as we rehashed the entire beginning of the original Chris Reeve Superman the movie -- the gold standard for all Superhero films.

Then we moved on to British Superman pretending to be from Kansas. Then the bad guys show up, and Superman wrecks half of Metropolis then becomes a murderer by killing the bad guy. "Because there was no other choice."

Except there were like 100 other choices. So what.
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The problem with MAN OF STEEL is that Superman is not supposed to be a scary, menacing figure of the night. In other words, Superman is not supposed to be Batman. But these days, Batman is far more popular than Superman.

So obviously the thing to do was to make Superman more like Batman. Which really cannot be done. But in MAN OF STEEL, they tried to do it anyway.

The Supes vs. Zod battle decimated Metropolis and killed upwards of 100,000 people. But don't worry. At the time, neither the populace nor Superman were concerned about that at all. Neither were the "movie-makers" at Warners.

They were too busy ignoring their own characters. But then the AVENGERS movie came out, and that movie was such a huge hit, and so lucrative, that even the mouth-breathing dullards at Warner Brothers noticed.
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The big shots at Warners had a meeting. I can hear it now.

"Wow, AVENGERS grossed a billion dollars this weekend. We should do a movie like that! Do WE have any superheroes we could use?"

"Well... we do have Batman. People like him! And some chick called ... Wonder Woman. Let's stick them in the MAN OF STEEL sequel."

"But since kids don't like Superman anymore, we'll have Batman fight Superman."

"But we can't write a new story, there's no time. Where will we get the plot?"

"We'll just use Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. And the Loeb/Lee Batman story HUSH. The scenes where Batman and Superman fight."

"Wow, are those few scenes enough to make a whole movie?"

"Sure! Batman and Superman can fight, then unite to fight Doomsday at the end. Like the Avengers came together and fought those aliens."

"That will stretch it out long enough. Maybe too long. But so what."

"Let's put in all the other heroes too!"

"YES! DC owns the most famous and successful comic book characters in history. But That's not good enough. Let's change them all so they resemble other, far less successful characters. We'll make Wonder Woman into Xena, Aquaman will be Conan the Barbarian, and Flash will be Lord knows who/what."

"WAIT! How can we stuff EVEN MORE CRAP into this thoroughly-overstuffed movie? "I know! A pointless and confusing dream sequence!"

"YES! GREAT! Then we can show images and scenes that foreshadow movies coming out in three years, and other things that doesn't even make sense."

"Make sense? Who cares?"

"Not me. We'll figure it out later. Maybe. C'mon! Let's start shooting!"

"Don't we need a script?"

"Hell no! We'll just copy the comics. Let's go!"

"We'll write the script and do the casting on the way."

CAST of SUPERMAN V BATMAN!
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I'm going to talk about the cast first. Mostly wretched, with one big exception.

I actually loved Ben Affleck as Batman. He is now my favorite Batman ever. I was prepared to despise Affleck and pronounce him guilty of horrible acting, but after seeing the movie, I have to admit that, shockingly, Ben Affleck was DEFINITLY the best Batman ever, and, perhaps just as importantly, he was also the best BRUCE WAYNE ever. He fits both parts like a glove. And, because he FITS, I must ACQUIT!

Strangely, I felt exactly the opposite about Henry Cavill as Superman. Henry Cavill is, for sure, both the worst Clark Kent and the worst Superman ever. His face looks weird from most angles, his has no warmth or humor whatsoever. He's cold, and I don't like him. In fact, I hate him. In this movie, he is insufferably stupid, and he has no clue how or when to use his powers.

For example, when he goes to Washington to testify before Congress, a bomb explodes while he's talking. Superman not only does not save the day, he literally stands there and does absolutely NOTHING. Oh, wait a minute. He does pout disapprovingly. I guess that's something. It's basically taken for granted that every last person present is a goner, so why bother doing anything. Better to stand there and pout disapprovingly. This Superman likes to pout, and stare into space blankly. Useless. Awful. Hated him. Nuff said.

I expected to despise Jesse Eisenberg as Luthor. But I didn't. Mainly because he is such a minor presence in the film. He isn't a mad scientist genius-- in fact, he isn't a scientist at all, or a genius. He's not diabolical, or wildly psychotic like the Joker in Dark Knight Returns. He's basically a low-key nebbish nobody. Why is he doing all this? It's inferred (in a one-line after-thought that reeks of last-minute revision) that Luthor hates "father figures" like Superman because his own father abused him. Ummm, whatever.

There's also Lois Lane, Perry White, Alfred, and several others, but they have few lines, they leave no real impression and have no real presence in the movie. We'll get to Gail Gadot as Wonder Woman later. Now -- let's get started...

OK -- BEGIN REVIEW of SUPERMAN V BATMAN!
I'd read about SUPERMAN V BATMAN starting with a recap of Batman's origin. My initial reaction was to almost vomit. What? Again? This is like the 1000th time Bruce's parents died in that alley, subsequently dubbed "Crime Alley."...
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Why redo this scene AGAIN? But as it turns out, I didn't mind the way they did it. It was mercifully brief and it had a purpose, and we move quickly into adult Bruce rushing into Metropolis during the climactic super-battle from the end of MAN OF STEEL.
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Wayne is horrified at the destruction, but you can't really believe he's being taken by complete surprise when he drives a "Dawn of Justice" Special Edition Jeep into the chaos. Don't those things take months to pre-order? Well, money does have its advantages.

Product placement is when the makers of Coke or Apple Computers pay moviemakers a lot of money to feature their products prominently in the actual movie. For the movie makers, it's a way to defray the massive costs of making a blockbuster. SUPERMAN V BATMAN takes product placement to unheard of levels, breaking new ground in the field.

In fact, in this case, it isn't the products that are placed in the movies -- it's the MOVIES that are placed in the products! For example, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne appears in TV commercials for Jeep and Turkish Airlines. These commercials intercut product scenes with movie scenes. America, we have come to a point where fictional characters are doing product endorsements.
Oh, and Bruce always flies Turkish Airways, BTW.
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Which raises a question. Where does Bruce live? Doesn't he live in Gotham City? But the destruction happened in Metropolis. However, Metropolis and Gotham are both stand-ins for New York City. In this movie, they're treated as if they are "twin cities" across a bay from each other. (Minneapolis and St. Paul moved to the Hudson River?).

Bruce's Wayne building is in Metropolis for some reason. Anyway, seeing all this destruction gives Wayne/Batman his motivation for opposing Superman. Wherever Supes goes, cities get wrecked or something. It makes him mad!
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Of course, BATMAN would never do any such thing as destroy a city. But Ben Affleck Batman has the advantage of separating himself from Christian Bale Batman. If you recall, Christian Bale Batman destroyed large sections of Gotham City on a weekly basis. And never even gave it a second thought! Oh well, Bruce rescues a little girl, so we know he's a good guy with a kind heart, He's not just a half-psychotic vigilante! He has layers!
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AND SO, THE STAGE IS SET...
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