June 28, 2020

Blue Ray Review # 53 Batman v Superman (Ultimate Cut) Plus I rank the DCEU films. With Talking Flick Podcast Appearances!!

Batman v Superman (2016) Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Directed by Zack Synder

“I’ve killed things from other worlds before” Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diana Prince)

When you get old in life, you have the benefit of experience. As a movie fan nearing mid-life (maybe I’m there already) I have the experience of seeing several movies about Batman. Some good (Batman 1989: See Review), some bad (Batman and Robin: Listen to Podcast), and some just odd (BvS). Bruce Wayne/Batman is a great a character, I love him, perhaps he is my favorite comic book character of all time. Bob Kane and Bill Finger knew they had something with this guy. See Batman is just a man in a suit, unlike Superman he is no God, unlike Wonder Woman he has no epic backstory, he is a tortured man, fueled by revenge and sadness. Because he is just a man, people relate to him, people want to be him, certainly people want to root for him. I don’t think I ever considered rooting against my favorite comic hero, then came Batman v Superman

*****Review Contains Spoilers for Batman v Superman*****

Zack Synder (Watchmen and 300) follows up 2013’s DC/WB success Man of Steel, with an incredibly ambitious story that I think was aiming to be The Godfather of superhero films. Bruce Wayne (A brooding and jacked Ben Affleck) witnesses the fight between Gen. Zod (Michael Shannon) and Kal-El/Superman (a serious Henry Cavill) and all the collateral damage around it. That sets off a series of events that will lead to the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world, sort of. Along the way a sniveling and creepy new Lex Luther joins the dark themed party (Mark Zuckerberg, I mean Jessie Eisenberg), a new Meta-human gets introduced (a shockingly great Gal Gadot), and Batman gets some help from a new Alfred (classing up the joint Mr. Jeremy Irons). This film has a million characters, and million plot layers. Although the story gets incredibly muddled (especially in the theatrical cut, see the ultimate cut, it’s worth the 31 extra minutes), it still has some of the most beautiful set pieces you will ever see in a comic film. Batman has incredible fight scenes, Superman really takes a beating from multiple foes, and Wonder Woman kicks freaking butt. Synder, Goyer, and Terrio are all digging really deep here, drawing from masterpieces like The Death Superman and The Dark Knight Returns comics to weave a cogent narrative together. Unfortunately they largely fail to keep the story flowing and linear.  

Batman v Superman should’ve probably been (2) films. 1: The Batman 2: Man of Steel 2, instead Synder and Warner Brothers clearly in a reaction to Marvel’s hugely successful Cinematic Universe, can’t hold themselves back from fast-tracking it’s DC hero’s into some kind of quick team up Justice League squad. BvS is massively over bloated, so many great characters and great actors are underused (I’m so sorry Lawrence Fishbourne-Perry White, Jena Malone-Jenet Klyburn, and Diane Lane-Martha Kent), and perhaps worst of all neither Superman or Batman is very likable (it's kind of fatal flaw). Here is the funny thing though, despite all that, I really enjoyed this film. I was sort of surprised that they got me to root for (boy scout Superman) over (badass) Batman, I kind of loved the injection of reactionary retconning (backlash from all the people complaining about the destruction in Man of Steel), and I even sort of admired the current political environment Synder was trying to demonstrate (though again not executed super well). Even more so, I FUCKING loved Wonder Woman, a character I never thought could work on the Big Screen this well, and finally, though a little cheap, (after spoiling it in the 2ndtrailer) I was impressed WB and Synder had the balls to kill Superman, even if just for this film. You see, after several years of Marvel films that feature almost no consequence, it’s hard not to give credit to Synder and the team for just going for it. Haven't you ever yearned to see Batman in the Mech Suit, how about Superman getting hit with a nuke in the upper atmosphere, ok how about Clark Kent's funeral then (and Batman's there!?), I mean haven't we all dreamed at one time or another of seeing that stuff on the big screen? Did it all work? Nope. Was it still cool though to see it? Yup. We all know the devil doesn't come from the ground, and it doesn't come from the sky either, it comes from the internet, ignore the trolls, SEE THE MOVIE and decide for yourself. 

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) To say BvS has flaws is a huge understatement, to say it is a good movie is also pushing it, but to say it is not only watchable, but Re-Watchable is something I can live with. After years of Marvel films that failed to take big swings, it was refreshing for me to see someone just go for it. I wish it had turned out a little better, I wish I liked Afflecks Batman more, or was given a little less darkness and a little more levity, but nonetheless I admire the ambition and was entertained by some truly stunning cinematic achievements I didn’t think I would ever see in my lifetime on the big screen with these characters. BvS is not the best superhero film of all time, it isn't a particularly fun watch (neither was the Godfather btw), but it is better than a lot of Marvel films, and it is better than anything Joel Schumacher made in this comic world. It is worthy of a 6.5 on the The Shawshank Scale internet trolls be damned!  

Ranking the DCEU Films:

Wonder Woman-She is truly a hero for our time. 
Batman v Superman-Messy, but in kind of a beautiful way.
Man of Steel-I had a hard time with the ending, but man he looked cool flying.
Aquaman-Crazy colorful and kinda fun, I dig it. 
Shazam-Lighter and breezier than any other DC film.
Justice League-An utter mess, but I still have seen it a few times.
Suicide Squad-Like a music video mash up rather than a cogent narrative. 
Birds of Prey-I honestly don’t know what they were going for here.


Talking Flick on iTunes  (Batman v Superman Episode)

Talking Flick on Anchor  (Batman v Superman Episode)

Talking Flick on iTunes  (Batman and Robin Episode)

Talking Flick on Anchor  (Batman and Robin Episode)