Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice online movie review - Red Dawn
Murderiffic sequel to Man of Steel and the second in Zack Snyder's murderverse series about angst-driven superheroes, light on the hero part.
Batman's the main killer this time around, probably because Snyder got his hand slapped so much for turning Superman into a killer in the first movie. Don't worry, Superkiller fans, Snyder manages to sneak in some Superman slaughter in one of the movie's irritating dream sequences. Yeah, that's right. In the first hour, anytime it appears something interesting is happening, it turns out to be a dream. Great storytelling. The first half of this movie is dull beyond belief and doubles down on the bleak, dour, and depressing tone of Man of Steel. We can add "angry" to the mix this time, as a lot of characters are just so angry they're frothing at the mouth. Chief among these whiners is Batman, who is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore and never stops reminding us of this fact in every single scene. The script is disjointed and dumb, giving the appearance of dealing with weighty ideas while never coming close to actually doing it. For example, the main theme running throughout the first hour and change of the movie is just dropped once the fighting starts and the movie never returns to it. I hate that. If you're going to act like you're more grown-up than the average superhero movie, then follow through with it. Don't just cop out and leave it dangling while you devote the final hour to your hyperviolent action scenes and CGI monster.
The second half of the film is the mindless action and destruction that we got so much of in Man of Steel. Hack Snyder has quickly become the superhero film's own Michael Bay. The best parts of the movie, to me, were the Clark Kent parts. No, not Superman. The Clark parts, with Lois and Perry and his parents (yes, parents plural as Pa Kent shows up in a hallucination or something). These are the only times the movie has any real heart or human connection. The rest of the time it's someone whining, killing, or whining about killing. Unfortunately, the Clark parts are very brief and make up a fraction of the movie in total. For their parts, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams again do well and come out of the movie smelling better than most of their co-stars. Although I really don't get what the point was of that business where Adams' Lois throws a spear into a pool of water only to have to retrieve it two minutes later. Honestly, though, there's quite a bit about this mess that needs explaining and that's pretty low on the list.
Much of the focus in this one is spent on propping up Batman and introducing him as part of the murderverse. On that note, I've seen a lot of praise directed towards Ben Affleck for his performance and I must admit I don't get that at all. He's not bad but he's not particularly good either. The script doesn't give him a chance to show what he can do besides growl and destroy things every chance he gets. He never rises above the material so I can't get behind any praise parties thrown in his honor. Jesse Eisenberg is the film's villain and he is just the worst. Absolutely terrible! I refuse to call his character Lex Luthor since he is only that in name, certainly not in any characteristic that I recognize of Lex's. Basically Eisenberg is trying to do Heath Ledger's Joker here and failing miserably. He's annoying in every single scene and by the end you find yourself wondering why he is spared of the murderousness that the DC heroes have shown themselves to possess in these two movies. If you're going to kill bad guys, why leave the worst one alive?
Wonder Woman is also here. That's basically all I can say about that. She doesn't speak much and it's taken for granted the audience is full of fanboys who know all about why she's there so no explanations are given. She's peppered throughout the movie as a Catwoman stand-in (sexy thief that flirts with Batman), to then show up in all her costumed glory (darkened colors, of course) to help in the big fight against the CGI Doomsday at the end. She's got a sword, because that's a thing now and it will undoubtedly help her with murdering in her own film, since she doesn't get to murder anyone here. We also get teases of Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg. No explanations, just teases. Again, if you aren't a fan following all the information for these movies that comes out, you will be lost about half of this stuff. Which is just terrible storytelling but I am to the point of giving up on trying to understand the rationale behind those making the decisions on DC's films. There's a lot of reasons that Marvel is succeeding while DC flounders and, if you don't get those reasons by now, you probably never will.
All I can say is that if you really loved Man of Steel's tone and thought that was the perfect direction to take a series of superhero movies, then you'll probably love this one. I did not love Man of Steel, although I tried so very hard to find positives about it since I have been a lifelong Superman fan. But my patience and good will has been exhausted and, from now on, I will be meeting every DC film with a very critical eye. This film is overlong, pretentious, unnecessarily grim, and just plain not fun to watch. There's not a single moment from this that put a smile on my face. Not one. How can you make a movie teaming up the two most recognizable superheroes ever and have it be so damn depressing?