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Saturday, March 26, 2016

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016)

The battle of these two iconic characters is the type of thing geeks have debated of and dreamed about for decades. On paper seems like a slam dunk - Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, what could go wrong? According to most critics, a lot. Universally they have been beating it up. And while no where near perfect I A flawed movie that I liked none the less. Most the flaws are delivered at the hand of director Zack Snyder. While he is great with delivering amazing visuals, he lacks the ability to bring much else... maybe this is a little unfair since he did not write the screenplay, but since many of the same shortcomings found in Man of Steel are still present here, I have to put the blame on him. For the film the deck was stacked against him, unlike Marvel that slowly built up to an assemble film (The Avengers) he was handed a huge task, kickstarting the Justice League universe that consisted of only one established big screen character a tepidly received Superman. This is the film's biggest problem is always feels like the kickstarter that it is. Overall, it is an overstuffed, dark mess - much of what happens on screen seems like a checklist of required storylines/backstory/characters that need to be checked off so the future Justice League franchise films can come to the big screen. Problems arise and are often resolved too easily/quickly and perhaps not all that logically. But, with the non-stop action and effects it is easier to overlook (at least on first viewing) because there is little time to think think while your senses are being bombarded.

The tone is dark from frame one until the very end with the lightest line delivered by Martha Kent (Dianne Lane) - the theater chuckled, after and before that it was dark and moody. If there was some breathing room perhaps the characters would not seem so one-dimensional. Which had me thinking, this would be a great TV series with 13 episodes to tell the same story crammed into one film... more time to develop characters, time to add some subtlety to the story and maybe, just maybe the occasional well lit scene. I get it, this is the darker, grittier superhero franchise, but they can still own a couple of 90 watt bulbs and walk outside on a day that is not overcast.

Ben Affleck was fine, not great, not memorable - just fine. His costume and the way they had him move around the screen felt very Batman-like, but his performance was pretty much one-note. Again, this may have more to do with DC trying to cram three films into one.  

The biggest head scratcher was Zack Snyder's penchant for shirtless people - very odd.

When the credits rolled, I have to admit I kind of liked it. Maybe I had lowered expectations, maybe I have to see it again to evaluate closer or maybe I liked it. No matter what is the reason I can recommend this film for any superhero fan - it has plenty of right off the comic book feel to it. As a film, not just a superhero film, it is not as successful. Still, I enjoyed the 150 flawed minutes more than expected which allows me to give it a 5.5 out of 10.

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