|Review by Joe Yezukevich|
Imagine this: a group of writers get blind drunk and savage a comic book store.
In a moment of semi-lucid planning, they decide to tear up classic graphic novels and randomly staple them back together.
Then, they use these Frankencomics as a screenplay to launch a colossal brand.
If you were to tell me that this was a behind the scenes Blu-ray extra for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, I would not doubt your word a bit.
The movie moves along at a snail’s pace in some seemingly strange attempt to either create depth or to stop and try to figure out which direction to move in next. There are moments that made me hopeful, but those are few and rarely brought any satisfaction.
We open with a scene any Batman fan knows all too well: the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents segueing into the graveside service for the two of them. It’s a dream sequence (the first of several) but it is also a throwback to Batman Begins when young Bruce falls into the old well and becomes surrounded by his greatest fear. This has a different outcome though, one that could only happen in dreams or comic books.
It also establishes a new era for Batman in which the deep pocketed street vigilante is not so down to earth.
He’s also being played by Ben Affleck, who would not stop acting. I like Ben Affleck in most of his roles and I admit that I was looking forward to his turn in this movie, but all I could see or hear was a middle-aged guy pretending to be a superhero. His fight scenes looked less like natural fight scenes and more like choreography. “Turn right! Block! Punch!” There is just no energy there.
We also learn that during the final battle scene in Man of Steel, Bruce Wayne had flown to Metropolis from neighboring Gotham. (Right, I said neighboring. Don’t get me started.). He witnessed the atrocities exacted upon the citizens of the city and even acted as a hero, saving a little girl from falling debris and helping to pull a Wayne Enterprises employee from rubble. Living through the maelstrom that comes with a battle between gods had an effect on him and really brought out his trust issues.
The long and the short of it: Batman doesn’t like Superman. As Superman gains more time in the spotlight, Batman is gaining animosity. It doesn’t help that he’s being framed for an atrocity that occurs as he is attempting to save Lois Lane from terrorists somewhere in Africa. (I really hope they meant the continent and were not referring to Africa as a country). The US Senate is looking to put controls on Superman and this seems like a good place to start.
At about this time, we’re introduced to Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg, as some amalgam of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man. Come on Jesse! You already gave us a Mark Zuckerberg performance in The Social Network! Lex has some folks at work finding Kryptonite so he can weaponize it and…and…control the world? Well, at least weaponize it.
The story plays out with all of the gravitas and emotion of Shakespeare performed by the WWE.
There are, as I said, some moments that are good, such as the first shot of Batman in action where he looks like an Alex Ross painted Nosferatu homage.
Wonder Woman is simply cool, tough and magnetic. It gave me hope, which is sort of what the movie is all about. But, in the end, the viewer is dragged screaming though such an unwatchable movie that, any hope for greatness is lost in the hope for just a good movie.
We are introduced to some other new characters in a nice nod to fanboys. I found it ham fisted and more like watching the opening of a video game than a scene in a movie. I think that is my biggest problem with Batman V Superman; in lieu of telling a story that you can take with you and think about, the studio has created the most expensive two and a half hour opening video game scene ever.
I guess it’s the dawn of something, but it ain’t Justice.