Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Zach Snyder (300,) returns to direct the sequel to Man of Steel and setup the series of Justice League movies coming over the next several years. Batman V Superman stars Ben Affleck (Argo, Good Will Hunting) as Batman, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprise their roles as Superman and Lois Lane, and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) takes a turn as the villain Lex Luthor. Here is how IMDB describes the movie:
“Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.”
Let me begin by saying if you LOVED Batman V Superman you are 100 percent correct. If you HATED Batman V Superman you are 100 percent correct.
I watched this movie twice once in standard 2D and Once in IMAX 3D. My first viewing was with 4 other adults and my son (15) and my second viewing was with my son and daughter and one of her girlfriends. The reaction with my first group of mostly adults was split three of us liked three of us hated it. When I saw the movie a second time with all teenagers they were 100 percent in the like category. This is also an accurate reflection of what America thinks as well. On IMDB the users have given it a 7.4 out of 10 by the time of this writing and the critics have been much harsher giving it a 44 out of 100. So is BVS a good movie or not? Should I go see BVS?
The answer is perplexing to me.
BVS is a really, bad movie at times. The storyline is ludicrous, the editing was a mess breaking continuity several times. It is too long having four acts one of which in my opinion was not even needed. There is one scene that is so poorly edited that is appears as if we are watching a good ole 1970’s film reel that was accidentally burnt and so the local projectionists just cut out about 4 minutes of the movie and spliced it back together. There were bad symbolism choices, (I’ll Just say 2 pearls too many) and the IMAX screen that I watched it on was 1/3 out of focus and not aligned properly.
The first hour of this movie is pretty solid. No one knows how to start a movie off like Zach Snyder. That part was thoroughly enjoyable to me. After that it just falls off the wheels. What really redeems this movie however is some solid acting performances by the cast. Ben Affleck is great as an older Batman. He brings a solid balance of older and wiser hero, and an aloof billionaire who is too distracted with his life to stay connected to real people. Cavill and Adams both turn in solid performances in their roles and I would say the chemistry that was lacking in Man of Steel is much better in this turn. Eisenberg’s, Lex Luthor, has received mixed reviews but I thought his performance was spot on.
The best part of BVS was the performance of Gal Gadot was Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. She stole the movie for me playing a sophisticated Diana and a take no prisoners, fear no one, Wonder Woman. Her first appearance as WW was worth the price of admission and sold the whole movie for me and I cannot wait for her origin story. It was refreshing to see a heroin played not for her sex appeal, (though Gadot brings plenty of that) but for her straight up strength as a superhero.
This movie is full of spiritual themes. Snyder raises all kinds of questions about God and our view of him. There is a line in the movie that comes right out of the philosophical debates of the day when Lex Luthor says “If good is good then he cannot be all powerful and if he is all powerful then he cannot be all good.” This is right out of Philosophy 101 “The Problem of Evil.” Superman or Space Jesus (as a good fiend of mine likes to refer to him) represents a Christlike figure wrestling with his humanity versus his alien DNA. This is similar to what Jesus went through when the scriptures record he was “tempted in all things, yet did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
The spiritual themes however are also where the movie goes off the rails. Lex Luthor attempts to kill Superman with the angels (Batman) and then when that fails he says “Now lets try and kill him with the devil…” (referring to Doomsday) This supposedly serious moment comes off comical and I could hear some laughter in my theatre. It is obvious that Superman and even the story of Batman are stories that contain spiritual themes of redemption, repentance and even penance. Stories of good triumphing over evil. But BVS mangles these up to point of complete delusion.
BVS is a mixed bag and I am convinced you are going to have people arguing over this movie for years to come. If you are not into the comic books, or you are not a film connoisseur and you just want a fun action packed summer movie you will probably enjoy BVS. If you are the later you might want to pass this one up.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars.