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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.83%
Worth A Look: 4.17%
Just Average: 12.5%
Pretty Crappy: 16.67%

1 review, 18 user ratings

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
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by Peter Sobczynski

"The Greatest Superhero Film Ever--At Least In The Bizarro World"
1 stars

As I have mentioned many times before, I have never been much of a superhero movie person—with a few exceptions, I tend to find them to be overproduced bores featuring oddly costumed stiff pounding the crap out of each other while their surroundings are leveled in an orgy of dodgy CGI effects. That said, I am usually willing to concede that in most cases, the problem may lie mostly with myself since films like “Deadpool” and various films involving the X-Men and the Avengers clearly connect and resonate with their target audiences in ways that I simply do not often understand. Even taking my usual prejudices regarding the genre into account, however, I am still at a loss to fully explain the sheer crumminess of the highly anticipated “Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice,” a film that brings together arguably the two most iconic superheroes of all time—ones so famous that even I know the details of their respective backstories without needing to resort to the kindness of in-the-know colleagues or Wikipedia—and then strands them in a dour, ugly and ridiculously violent mess that has them at each others throats for no particular reason for most of the running time. I promise you that if you went onto a school playground at recess and asked the kids what might transpire in a fight between Batman and Superman, what they came up with would almost certainly be more interesting and entertaining than anything to be found in this monstrosity and the fight choreography would probably be better to boot.

Perhaps realizing that Batman has the greater cultural cachet these days due to lingering affection for Christopher Nolan’s legitimately great “Dark Knight” trilogy—three of the best superhero films ever made—the film spends the early part of its running time focusing on Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and his Caped Crusader alter ego. First we get yet another depiction of young Bruce watching his parents being gunned down before his eye during a mugging gone wrong—on the bright side, at least they lived long enough to get him in to see “Excalibur.” After that, we get to revisit the grim climax of “Man of Steel,” with Superman (Henry Cavill) doing battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon) and reducing most of Metropolis to rubble, from Bruce’s point of view as he tears through the disintegrating streets and manages to save both a little girl and employee Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy), whose legs have been crushed, but sees his skyscraper destroyed. This instills in Bruce a fairly irrational hatred of Superman based on his fears of what an alien with unlimited powers might be capable of doing and instills in most sensible viewers a fairly rational hatred of the film already for the way that it traffics in some of the most horrifying imagery of 9/11 as a way of laying the groundwork for a Batman/Superman brawl.

While Bruce is off doing his own crimefighting thing—utilizing his powers of deduction to track down both a possible crime figure known as the White Portuguese and a mysterious woman (Gal Gadot) who happens to turn up in the most unexpected places—Superman is in the midst of a crisis. Although most of the world was on his side in the wake of the chaos in Metropolis, his rescue of Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from a group of terrorists in an African village goes sideways and leads to the death of several locals and attracts the attention of Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), who wants to hold official hearings in Washington regarding the usage of his powers without any form of oversight. The senator receives an offer of support from Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), the brash head of the LexCorp conglomerate in exchange for a couple of favors—access to the corpse of General Zod and his Kryptonian technology and to be able to import a mysterious green mineral that his men have discovered at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. She eventually refuses to help him out but as it turns out, Luthor has a few additional tricks up his sleeve.

This is all well and good, the more forgiving of you may be thinking, but how do we get from here to the point where Batman and Superman go up against each other in a plausible and satisfying manner that also puts them on relatively even ground? Well, it doesn’t even come close to pulling any of that off. Instead, the screenplay by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer whiffs things considerably by utilizing a number of contrivances and misunderstandings—most of which could have been easily avoided if everyone didn’t go out of their way to say the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time—as the catalyst instead of a coherent story. (At times, it feels like the biggest, loudest and oddest-dressed episode of “Love American Style” ever made.) To make matters worse, the one potentially interesting dramatic notion of a Batman/Superman face-off—the showdown between Superman’s true blue idealism and Batman’s more cynical worldview—has been short-circuited as well by the maddening decision of this film and “Man of Steel” to try to present a darker and more brooding version of Superman than has been seen in the past, presumably in the hopes of winning over fans of the decidedly dark and morally ambiguous “Batman” films of Christopher Nolan; even the normally sweet-natured Clark Kent alter ego is grim and slowly throughout. Without that key difference, there is no real conflict between the two and as a result, the circumstances leading to their eventual confrontation feel even stupider than they might have otherwise—the buildup to the big fight in “Freddy Vs. Jason” was a model of sound dramatic construction by comparison.

By that time, however, it hardly matters because “Batman Vs. Superman” has already failed so throughly in almost every possible way. The screenplay is a load of gibberish that seems to have been pieced together out of bits taken from earlier stabs at bringing a “BvS” story to the screen and which seems to be more interested in introducing ideas for a half-dozen future films involving a DC-based universe in the manner of the recent string of Marvel-related efforts rather than in telling a compelling story of its own. The film is also overloaded with supporting characters to such a degree that even at a ridiculously elongated 153-minute run time, most of them, such as Diane Lane (as Superman’s Earth mother) and Laurence Fishburne (as Daily Planet editor Perry White), come and go so quickly that you hardly even register their presence. The script tries in a ham-fisted manner to offer up suggestions of political and social commentary regarding the moral and ethical quandaries faced by our heroes and their parallels to the real world but they mostly sound like bits culled from online comments sections without really giving them much actual thought. And without giving anything away, it awkwardly tries shoehorning in one of the most famous plot developments in the history of comic books in a last-ditch effort to bring some emotional heft to the proceedings in the late innings but handles it so badly that most comic book fans will be appalled that this scenario has been wasted on such an undeserving film.

The film was directed by Zack Snyder but even if you went into it no knowing that it was the product of the same mind that gave us such leaden punishments as “300,” “Watchmen,” “Sucker Punch” and “Man of Steel,” even those without a finely tuned auteurist radar would instantly peg it as perhaps the most Zack Snydery film ever made. Like his previous efforts, it moves at a leaden pace, the action sequences are chaotic and overly edited smears of indistinct visuals scored to what sounds and feels like an anvil applied directly to the skull and it is almost completely bereft of anything resembling a sense of humor. Granted, both the Batman and Superman franchises have had their artistic ups and downs over the decades but even the worst of them usually demonstrated at least some interest in the character and what they represent—that is what made films like the Nolan Batman films and Richard Donner’s original “Superman” genuinely great and not just great for a comic book movie.. Here, Snyder just treats them like cut-rate action figures that are fit only to be smashed around in a sandbox without any sort of rhyme or reason or repercussions. The end result is so terrible that the only person out there who may be legitimately enthused by his efforts is Joel Schumacher—after this film, there is an excellent chance that his infamous “Batman and Robin” will no longer be considered the low point in the franchise’s big screen history.

Speaking of Batman, one of the main points of contention that people have had with this film from the day that it was announced—the casting of Ben Affleck in the role—turns out to be one of its least objectionable aspects. Aside from the fact that he never looks quite as convincing in the costume as Michael Keaton and Christian Bale turned out to be, his performance is not that bad and is undercut only by the lousiness of the material that he is working with. He certainly comes across better than Henry Cavill, whose Superman and Clark Kent are such drags that the entire film pretty much drags to a halt whenever he appears—granted, Superman has never been the most colorful character but Christopher Reeve managed to find a sweetness and charm to the part that made him enormously likable despite his squareness. As for Jesse Eisenberg’s manic take on Lex Luthor, it will no doubt prove to be a divisive element amongst audiences who will either spark to or recoil from his efforts—I can’t say that what he does here wore particularly well with me after the first couple of scenes but I at least give him credit for trying to bring something new to the table. As the mysterious woman—okay, she turns out to be Wonder Woman, as anyone with even the slightest interest in this film presumably already knows—Gal Gadot is an admittedly striking presence and when she finally turns up as Wonder Woman to lend a hand, it is perhaps the only truly moment in the entire film—alas, it comes too late in the proceedings for it to have any real impact on audiences except to make them wish that they were watching an actual Wonder Woman movie instead of this junk.

“Batman Vs. Superman” is a film that any sensible movie fan will regard as nothing more than pure cinematic kryptonite—it is leaden when it should be light, silly when it should be smart and so overall awful that the heirs to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster may well instigate legal proceedings to get their names off of the credits. Because superhero movies are the rage these days and because of the eternal popularity of its two central characters, it will no doubt be a big hit at the box office as well. However, once the masses get a look at just how terrible it is, the repercussions could be enough to potentially scuttle the future big-screen adventures of Batman, Superman and the Justice League or at the very least inspire radical rethinking on how to proceed with them (though here is hoping that Wonder Woman emerges unscathed). Of course, refusing to believe that the film could actually be such a monstrosity, some fanboys have taken to the Internet to claim that movie critics are being paid off by Marvel to give it bad reviews as a way of damaging their competition. On the one hand, this is one of the stupidest anti-critic conspiracy theories that I have ever heard and anyone who believes a word of it clearly has bacon bits for brains. On the other hand, the fact that this theory is not quite as moronic as the film that inspired it should give you just some idea of how rotten “Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” really is.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=27539&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/23/16 19:20:11
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User Comments

7/20/17 Chaz Walter I don't get all the hate for this film. I thought it was incredible. 5 stars
2/12/17 morris campbell not as bad as everyone says affleck is a good batman 3 stars
1/19/17 Dr. Lao I wanted to see heroes. This movie just gave me two superpowered jerks 2 stars
8/28/16 MVC I cant stand Marvel movies, so this was a breath of fresh air for me! 5 stars
7/23/16 mr.mike Is "no bad". 3.5 stars 3 stars
7/01/16 Oz1701 this movie made no sense. i feel sorry for the actors trapped in it. 1 stars
5/14/16 Timothy Killoran I have seen better, but Affleck was better than I thought 3 stars
5/07/16 Andra Birzu Seriously, just like 7 minutes of action? I almost fell asleep in the theater 2 stars
5/04/16 David Hollingsworth Do we really need another superhero movie? 1 stars
4/17/16 Christopher Macias Movie Got You Write Off Your seat the same with this review 5 stars
4/16/16 ykemxare USA 4 stars
4/15/16 M I prefer the edgy tone of this film over Marvel's Saturday morning G rated feel any day! 5 stars
4/05/16 mcshane Affleck is good. 2 stars
3/30/16 Hugh Janus Poop. You not see waste money this. 1 stars
3/28/16 Terror Real terrible waste of time 1 stars
3/27/16 Butt Pirate Wow. Another stooper hero movie. Enough already. 1 stars
3/27/16 Darkstar Should have been awesome, wasn't. Possibly edited by monkeys. 2 stars
3/25/16 Paul Laughable review. Great superhero comic flick. 5 stars
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