It it safe to talk about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, yet? I think it is, since all the attention is now focused on the Ghostbusters reboot. I saw BvS four months ago, but I didn’t write about it for a variety of reasons; only some of which have to do with the film. Critics panned BvS; the self-appointed geekerati eviserated it; and average fans seem to be mixed. As with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I entered the theatre with low expectations. I then sat in my assigned seat and waited for the suck. It never arrived. The exact same thing occured when I saw X-Men: Apocalypse.
I’m not saying Batman v Superman is a great film–it is not–but it wasn’t a Deep Throat-level suckfest either. There are those who love to compare BvS director Zack Snyder to Michael Bay by saying they both have tremendous visual style, and that’s about it. What I find amusing about this comparison is that it seems some people go into a Snyder film knowing they are going to hate it, while every few years, they fool themselves into believing the next Transformers movie will be the good one. So far, Bay is 0-4 with Transformers, which is an impressive feat, especially if you suscribe to the “even a blind squirrel can stumble across an acorn” theory.
Snyder was in a no win situation with Batman v Superman. This film, and Ben Affleck’s perfomance as Batman, would be compared to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. It’s hard to make an honest comparison between Affleck and Christian Bale, since they each played Batman at different points in his tenure. And the films are tonally different.
Batman v Superman contains elements taken from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, which is a beloved comic series/graphic novel. One difference between the two is in TDKR both the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader are older, and a long time ago, they used to be friends. In BvS, Batman/Bruce Wayne takes an instant dislike to Superman, (Henry Cavil) without ever, you know, actually ever sitting down for a conversation over a cup of coffee, or some other tasty beverage.
Then again, Clark Kent, investigative journalist/sports reporter, has similar feelings about Batman. One day he takes the ferry over to Gotham to dig up some dirt on Batman, and he doesn’t like what he uncovers. (Side note: I don’t like this whole idea that Metropolis and Gotham are basically twin cities; two sides of the same coin if you will.) The problem is that both Superman and Batman are being manipulated by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). I like this idea, because it is a total Lex move. The lengths Luthor goes to are made far more clear in the Ultimate Edition.
There are those who remain unconvinced by the casting of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. I am not among that group. Having seen the Wonder Woman trailer and the footage from Justice League that played at San Diego Comic Con, I am even more convinced that she is excellent in the role.
Warner Bros. did themselves no favors by announcing they would release an extended cut of Batman v Superman on Blu-ray this summer, before the film had reached theatres this past March. Conversely, if WB had waited until the movie had left theatres, many would say the studio was trying to cover its ass. An arguement can be made that if BvS was good, none of this would matter. I prefer the Ultimate Edition to the theatrical cut, but I’m not delusional enough to think it win over the critics. They made up their minds a long time ago.