Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Film Appreciation - Son of Krypton vs. Bat of Gotham
Guest contributor Noah Smith shows some Film Appreciation for the divisive superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I typically can't wait to see the latest big hype superhero movie, but the combination of low critic ratings and high box office sales made me decide to wait and see Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at home. My better half and I were eagerly anticipating 10 Cloverfield Lane, but for whatever reason the theater wasn't showing it anymore, so we ended up seeing the latest big hype superhero movie. I thought for sure she would fall asleep or twiddle her thumbs until it was over, but surprisingly enough she enjoyed it as much as I did.
Dawn of Justice takes place shortly after Man of Steel, with Henry Cavill returning as Superman
and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. I was happy to see these two return because I like the origin, personality, and character of Superman, Lois Lane being a part of that character, and keeping the same actors for those roles keeps me attached to them. Dawn of Justice does a nice job of showing off Clark Kent's heart, and I liked that. He's a hero who is simply trying to do the right thing and will stop at nothing to protect those he loves.
Played by a buffed out Ben Affleck, Batman is Superman's opposite. The most threatening Batman to date, he sports a mask similar to the hallucination Scarecrow had of him in Batman Begins. Years of fighting crime, losing Robin, and not loving anyone has jaded Batman’s heart and made him more violent in his old age. Clark Kent takes note of such acts as branding criminals with a bat symbol so they get killed in jail, and tries to expose it as a reporter. But Kent is not without his faults, as the opening scene shows. Bruce Wayne is caught in the collateral damage of Superman's fight with General Zod as Superman is oblivious to how much hurt he is causing along with his help. Bruce believes Superman has the power to destroy the world. My favorite scene is when Bruce is dreaming of himself in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by Superman, and is captured by Superman's army while trying to obtain Kryptonite. He is chained up and Superman accuses him of killing Lois Lane. And just as Superman is about to rip his heart out, Bruce wakes up.
Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg was a surprisingly enjoyable character to me. Gene Hackman was the Lex Luthor I remember, with Kevin Spacey playing one as well. Eisenberg has a different take on Superman's nemesis, making him more psychotic; he is constantly rambling, making little to no sense. I wouldn't think it'd work, but it did.
I did have my complaints: a lack of humor and too much plot. It really didn't need to be much more complicated than "Lex Luthor gets his hands on some Kryptonite and manipulates Batman and Superman into fighting each other." The first hour seemed to be scene after scene of different settings that didn't really transition together, leading up to Luthor sabotaging a court hearing over Superman's collateral damage. From there it really takes off and gets good. Since there are no origin stories for any of the Justice League members except Superman, the writers were faced with the daunting task of introducing us to all of its members while keeping the movie about the black and blue. It would have been nice to have a seen a Wonder Woman or a Flash movie first.
The music was by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL and it kept things exciting and edge-of-your-seat like the whole time. Hans Zimmer is one of those household names where you are guaranteed to have a better film when he works on it. Junkie XL I had not heard before, but I imagine he had something to do with the industrial sounds I heard in the final showdown between Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman vs. Doomsday. I had one Superman comic, and it was when he came back to life and rid the Earth of Doomsday. After seeing Dawn of Justice, I feel like I saw a prequel to that.
I could focus on everything I didn't like about this film, but the fact is there was a lot I did like about it, so I'm gonna remember that stuff.