Written By Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
A small disclaimer for those who wonder where I stand in the Marvel/DC realm, I like a good superhero movie, tv show or especially cartoon but I don't love the genre and I have little knowledge of the comics aside from indies that have nothing to do with superheroes and what I've read from those who are into them. All I want is a solid movie that uses some cool powers, interesting drama and characters that are compelling, Batman, Superman, X-Men it doesn't matter. That said, Zack Snyder and company once again get another crack at the DC Universe with its most iconic characters. So how did they do?
The opening of the movie finds Bruce Wayne at ground zero in Metropolis watching its destruction at the hands of Supeman and General Zod. One of his towers is utterly destroyed and a worker is seriously injured from a steel beam crushing his legs. Bruce looks up in the sky in hatred at the god like creature destroying the city and silently vows to take him down at all costs. Meanwhile some 18 months later Superman is on trial against the man crushed by the beam leaving everyone wondering, like they wondered in Man of Steel, is Superman worth the risk?
Having seen the terrible reviews this movie was given I went in with some pretty low expectations, but ones that I was at least hoping would yield a fun time even if it was dumb. I think my parents summed it up quite well "as soon as King Kong and Xena showed up I was done." Id have to agree. In the world that they constructed the ending battle was so weird and cartoonish it felt out of place. I mean The Flash is the best comic book embracing show there is and in that universe I'm still not entirely sure it could work, but in this movie it was just stupid.
Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne was perfectly adequate. He doesn't like Superman from the get go, and he uses his wits and determination to get in excellent shape after being out of the game for too long, a mech suit of armour that makes him even more of a tank and some other goodies to at least put up a fight against Superman's super abilities. It's clear after 20 years of fighting crime he has grown extremely jaded to crime in Gotham and the rules don't matter as much any more when gods are allowed to roam free. People felt like he was too extreme in his violence but I think you can infer that he has seen some things and has lost what tolerance he had for the scum that plagued the streets.
Wonder Woman was just fine, she kicked butt but they are clearly holding back until her movie to really get a sense of what she is all about. It was like a teaser trailer for Wonder Woman was put in to get people excited for that movie. One of my friends made a good point. When the Marvel movies were just starting to set up the universe they did it with those end credit scenes, now everyone spends half there energy setting up the next one.
Lex Luthor, who many did not like at all, I found to be perfectly fine. He's not the Lex most know. He is genius but insane and as a villain that's usually a good combo and it's clear that people think he is crazy too, it's not an accepted level of insane. He's not cold and calculating like the other iterations allow him to be, he's just nuts and has access to a lot of toys and yes men who let him have his way.
Lois Lane is such a throw away character in this movie. She is used as bait several times for Supeman and gets herself in trouble multiple times but manages to be nothing of substance. She was the perpetual damsel in distress only making things worse and lending nothing to the movie.
So what the good stuff? the main plot to have Superman put on trial for his actions was an interesting one that is more than meets the eye. Batman trying to also put Superman in check was enjoyable, with his preparation and title fight being very enjoyable highlights of the film. I also didn't mind how they decided to introduce the other members of the Justice league, Flash and Cyborg being particularly cool. But it again was something that felt more like an end credit teaser than part of the actual film. Superman also had one key moment that I liked quite a bit as well that at least gave him some weight to the proceedings after being mostly overshadowed by Batman and Lex.
What was bad? The ending was just a big old mess, easily up there with Man of Steel and possibly dumber in execution. The first half of the movie was a really hyper-actively cut mess like the movie has ADD and can only focus for so long before jumping to the next thing. A problem I'm guessing will flow better in the director's cut due out July 16th. Superman gets put through the ringer but doesn't really do or say much, he just kind of sulks and feels sorry for himself and for humanity which is perhaps the point but still doesn't do much story-wise.
Overall the movie just fell flat. It tried so hard to be interesting and important. It wanted there to be tension and drama but it was was almost laughable in it's attempt to do that. It felt like a moody teenager wrote the characters. The lyric "Darkness. No Parents." comes to mind. There were some okay moments here and there, a few conveniences that were too convenient. This was a hodge podge of comic stuff that was so focused on bringing you Justice League and every character you can think of, it didn't bother to really dig into any one character with meaning aside from Batman and even then not that deep. Even the style of the movie wasn't up to snuff I felt. Watchmen was a pretty darn good looking movie with some really gorgeous shots, not so in this movie, It was far from the comic book on screen look he is capable of doing consistently. "The Greatest Gladiator Match in History"? Sure, but it really didn't mean anything nor did this aggressively mediocre film.