Posted on October 7, 2016
When I know I want to see a movie, I put myself on a media blackout diet. I don’t read any reviews, I ignore social media posts and I don’t talk to friends about their opinion until I’ve seen it fresh for myself. On the other hand, when my feelings are ambiguous or if I’m simply not predisposed to see it, then I readily allow the trailers, reviews and tweets to shape my decision.
I was not predisposed to see Batman Vs. Superman, because I’ve always thought the very idea of pitting the two against each other was a stupid one. Also, I really didn’t care for Man of Steel and the news about Suicide Squad was getting worse by the day.
It didn’t help that I’ve felt for a long time that Zack Snyder was a style-over-substance director and that his feeling for character was a little stunted. So it didn’t take too many mediocre reviews to keep me from going to see BvS in theaters.
Well, I just watched it on Blu-Ray last night and I have to say that it’s a much better movie than people give it credit for being. It has a resoundingly awful 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and an anemic 64 percent from the audience. Maybe it was a case of low expectations, but I found Dawn of Justice to be moving and powerful and beautiful.
Despite reservations, I found Affleck’s Batman-in-middle-age charismatic and driven. I believed his motivation for wanting to rein in the all-powerful, illegal alien Superman. And I really liked that this incarnation of the bat didn’t drool over his gadgetry. The car, the metal suit, his harpoon lines are just things that exist in his universe like tables, chairs and doors. Batman movies can sometimes verge on Inspector Gadget levels of toy nerd rage.
Also, this appears to be a Batman who kills, something that I find far more believable than Christopher Nolan’s rubber bullets. In a battle scene, with armed men firing all around, I don’t want my hero to be so concerned with not taking human life that he gets me and himself killed.
And that brings me to the “Bruce Wayne’s Nightmare” scene that had so many people so upset. I quite liked it. It was exciting, had the best Batman fight scene since Big Daddy worked his way through that warehouse in Kick-Ass, and perfectly elucidated the potential problem with having an all-powerful super being take up residence on your planet.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman only seems to have been brought on as a teaser for her stand-alone movie but I welcomed her presence. When she wasn’t kicking ass, she was being charming, beautiful and mysterious.
Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor on the other hand was the one sour note in an otherwise solid group of performances. I get the need to update Luthor to a Tech age bad boy billionaire who’s nearly completely unhinged but his choices seemed a little too Larry, Moe and Curly for my taste.
I think in total that it was a better movie than most people realized and that a lot of the negativity was related to baggage the audience brought with it into the theater.