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Batman v Superman Review
It should be no surprise that Batman v Superman dominated the box office this past weekend, earning an estimated $170,000,000 according to Box Office Mojo. But what is surprising is the mere 29% on the Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer.
So needless to say, I went into the movie with very low expectations. And these expectations began a long time ago when I saw the first trailer. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the Dark Knight trilogy nor a big fan of Man of Steel. So although I wanted to see Batman v Superman, it was with lukewarm excitement. But I must say that with expectations lowered, it wasn’t that bad a film.
Yes, it is a mess. It is riddled with issues but it is a watchable film and when Justice League comes out next year, I will also watch it. I don’t want to discuss each issue in detail but I will mention them with brevity.
The casting is troublesome but Ben Affleck is able to sell his Batman and Bruce Wayne just fine.
Too many plot lines and parallel action like there is some sort of obligatory, contractual screen time for both Affleck and Cavill. I think we could have foregone the whole government hearings in the film. It doesn’t add anything to the movie and we don’t lose anything if it’s gone. That would have reduced the bloated running time by thirty minutes.
The tease of the other meta-humans feels forced. Wouldn’t Batman and Superman know about these meta-humans?
We see flashbacks of Bruce Wayne’s parents and how they were murdered. Can we forego this? Can we instead see a flashback of the Joker and Robin? I think this is where the line is blurred between pleasing the diehard fans and providing enough exposition for the new viewer. I’m just saying that I think we all know by now how Batman becomes Batman and I don’t think we need multiple flashbacks to show this and we certainly don’t need them in slow motion.
While these are issues central to the film’s shortfall, it is not the biggest issue the film has.
Everyone loves to see super heroes as evidenced by the abundance of both Marvel and DC films released over the past years. But I think this is ultimately the shortcoming of B v S. We all love to see our superheroes in action. They are a clichéd extension of ourselves, where we get to be the hero that saves the day. It is a timeless fantasy that both boys and girls have enjoyed throughout time. And this fantasy that we have come to envision is a different world than our own. That’s what makes it a fantasy. In reality, we are normal. We have good days and bad days. But in this alternate fantasy world, we imagine a life where we have control of everything and we wield this control benevolently. We have the power and it makes us happy.
B v S misses this point by grounding our heroes in a dark world. Batman and Superman both don’t seem to enjoy what they do yet they continue to do it, bound by honor or duty or guilt. In fact, they seemed depressed and helpless by all that is going on around them. And we don’t want to relate to that. There’s no fun in relating to that. They experience no pleasure in life so we too are denied pleasure. It takes away the whole point of comic books and movies about comic books. Indulgent escapism. Self-indulgent escapism. And since it offers us no pleasure, we take no pleasure in watching the film. It fails where Marvel has succeeded in realizing that we want to escape from the often heavy handed lives that we lead. We want to believe that good can conquer evil, that love can triumph over hate. We want to believe that we can save the day and have fun doing so, despite the obstacles that we face. And in the end, Batman v Superman denies us that kind of film.