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Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice


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Nobody has done a great Luthor yet, in my opinion.  Still waiting for the definitive portrayal.  Hackman is a great actor, but his Luthor was a cartoonish idiot.  Spacey is a great actor, but his Luthor was confusing and made no sense.  I haven't seen this one but a young web startup guy just doesn't fit the role at all.  The animated versions have been far better: he's a Gilded Age super tycoon industrialist that wants to own and rule and control everything.  He wants to win, always.  Superman makes him look small and that infuriates him.

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Nobody has done a great Luthor yet, in my opinion.  Still waiting for the definitive portrayal.  Hackman is a great actor, but his Luthor was a cartoonish idiot.  Spacey is a great actor, but his Luthor was confusing and made no sense.  I haven't seen this one but a young web startup guy just doesn't fit the role at all.  The animated versions have been far better: he's a Gilded Age super tycoon industrialist that wants to own and rule and control everything.  He wants to win, always.  Superman makes him look small and that infuriates him.

To be fair, Gene Hackman's Luthor was quite accurate Pre-Crisis.  That's pretty much exactly how Luthor was portrayed in the comics back then.  Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and Luthor was changed.

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Ok, saw it and....
 
I actually liked it.

 

 

Clearly combined DKR with The Death of Superman. However, this movie is not as grim/evil/dark as has been suggested IMO. I liked all the major actor's portrayals, except for Eisenberg's extra-caffeinated clearly-insane Luthor. He was all over the place, almost like he was trying too hard.  Perhaps Cavill was a little bland. The first 45 mins of the movie are bit confusing and it felt oddly chopped and spliced, but as everything got explained it all came together. The dream sequences helped and hurt the story. They helped portray Affleck's sense of panic but they were also confusing.

 

- Who the heck was the guy from the future?  At least I 'think' he was from the future.

- Action was all really solid

- I never in all this time reading comics realized that Bats and Supes mother's names were both Martha.  Cool way to snap Bats out of it though.

- Best batcave ever!!!

- So how do they reincarnate Supes?  I'm assuming Batman will use the Kryptonian genesis chamber somehow?

- Geeked a bit at the appearance of the Parademons

- Loved that Batman is taking the lead and determined to form the Justice League to stop Darkseid.

- Sorry, still don't like the new Flash

- Aquaman's reveal was awesome

- Was the tech used to create Cyborg from Apokolips?

 

 

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To be fair, Gene Hackman's Luthor was quite accurate Pre-Crisis.  That's pretty much exactly how Luthor was portrayed in the comics back then.  Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and Luthor was changed.

 

 

There is something to that, yeah.  To me, the definitive Superman was done by John Byrne's Man of Steel run.  He did a terrific job reimagining the character and that's been the template ever since... until these films.

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Nobody has done a great Luthor yet, in my opinion.  Still waiting for the definitive portrayal.  Hackman is a great actor, but his Luthor was a cartoonish idiot.  Spacey is a great actor, but his Luthor was confusing and made no sense.  I haven't seen this one but a young web startup guy just doesn't fit the role at all.  The animated versions have been far better: he's a Gilded Age super tycoon industrialist that wants to own and rule and control everything.  He wants to win, always.  Superman makes him look small and that infuriates him.

They should just give the gig to Michael Rosenbaum.

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Yes, but

 

that was a CIA agent posing as Lois's photographer.

 

 

 

 

That was him.

 

In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Jimmy accompanies Lois Lane (Amy Adams) on an assignment in Africa, but he is quickly outed as a CIA plant, and killed by a gunshot to the head, right in front of Lois.Snyder had to say about why Jimmy Olsen had such a small role.

    "We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don't have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?"

 

 

 

 

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That was him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eh, ok. Lois acts like she hardly even knows him so not much of a Jimmy Olsen to me. He's in the movie for 10 seconds.  If you read my spoilered review above, he is nowhere near the biggest death in the movie.

 

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The official Hermit Review on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

 

Okay, I've just returned from the movie with some friends. With all the negative critic reviews, I was expecting a flustercluck with maybe a few good moments that would make you think of what it might have been if only handled right.

 

Instead, I had a really good time! I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. Now, to let you know where I'm coming from, I liked Man of Steel more than most, less than some. But everything they got wrong in Man of Steel, they seemed determined to improve on in this one IMO. Yes, buildings still go down boom  but the superheroes actually take care to make sure areas are lacking innocent bystanders. Yes, the palate is shadowy and dark for many scenes, but superman is actually wearing a brighter shade of blue and real red instead of that maroon hue they try to put him in in the name of realism. Not Christopher Reeve colors, but still better than the blandness of Man of Steel.

 

Hell, Pa Kent does better acting in one scene here after he died than he did the whole flipping MOS movie while he lived. Man of Steel has more fights, and major Kryptonian throwdowns, but other than that, anything MoS had, BvS beats.

 

Folks always talk about the good, the bad, and the so so in these movies, but I'm going to talk about the characters and their portrayals. I don't think I'll be giving away any major spoilers without tags, and if I say too much I apologize.

So SKIP THIS REVIEW just to be safe if you want to remain a complete B v S virgin until your theatre time

 

Batman- You know, I told folks in the past that Daredevil the movie had problems but Affleck wasn't one of them, and he totally proves it as Bruce/Batman. Now, this take is inspired a lot by Miller's Dark Knight so if you don't like that take, you may not like this, but it sure ain't on the actor. I didn't enjoy Dark Knight Returns myself that much, iron age was never my favorite, but I did end up liking this.

 

The thing you have to understand here is, Bruce is a bad guy and he doesn't even know it. This is a Batman who has turned jaded, bitter, who has lost a lot of his idealism and frankly, is in danger of losing his soul. He is afraid, afraid he can't stop what Superman COULD be instead of what Superman is, and that fear , not just for himself, but for the people he wants to protect, weighs on him heavier than any cape and cowl ever did.  He plays rough with crimiinals, and is rightly called on it more than once. But, of course, like any tragic hero who needs to find himself again, self realization does not come easily or soon. If you can accept that Batman is a lost soul and a slave to fear who needs to find himself and break those chains he'd trapped himself in, it's truly an amazing performance. 

 

Superman- A major flaw in this movie, in my mind, is that Superman gets cheated of a lot of screen time. Watching it, I just couldn't help feel that somehow, this 2:30 hour movie was missing another 15 minutes of quality footage focusing more on Clark and Superman's side of things. Now, Cavill tries with the time and the moments he has, and gives a solid performance of a conflicted individual who finds his very existence is freaking people out to the extremes of nigh worship and paranoid xenophobia! Honestly, given he's the strong but silent type, more than once he does a decent task of just ooozing nobility when he needs to, and trapped by confusion in others. But he doesn't really get the focus he needs to explore the issues plauging him as much as I'd like. Oh sure, he seeks advice from others, but we don't really get to hear him say what HIS side as he's put on trial in the court of public opinion. The "God metaphor" gets used by everyone, except himself, and we don't get to see him rebut it or tell folks to freaking chill (obviously in a more eloquent way than that) and I feel like it's a missed chance. And yes, as Batman spends much of the time as the bad guy, Superman is both a misunderstood hero and victim. It works, but if you are a big Superman fan you are likely to feel he's a bit short changed.

 

Wonder Woman- I don't care if some think she is too short for the part. Gal Gadot was wonderful. As Diana Prince she played up the woman of mystery angle with intelligence and charm, as Wonder Woman she was aglow with fierce delight in almost every battle scene.  I came away from this movie with high hopes and eagerness to see the Wonder Woman film and I think that reflects well on her. While Superman is consumed by doubt, and Batman's fear is being twisted against him; there stands Wonder Woman who has regrets and wounds of her own, but damn if she isn't the most mature about the whole thing. Wisdom and fierce joy? Sounds like Wonder Woman to me. My one regret  regarding her is that she's doesn't come in until much later.

 

Alfred- I have a friend who says Jeremy Irons stole every scene he was in as Alfred. I don't know if I'd go that far, but he was great. Alfred is best when he can out snark and banter with his employer, and such was the case here. Underlying the sarcastic affection, you can see Pennyworth is frustrated that he's warning Bruce over and over again about the lines he's crossing, yet his son in all but name doesn't hear him, doesn't listen. 

 

Lex Luthor- And BAM! Just like that, we hit the weak link in the movie. Eisenberg plays a great Riddler, perhaps even an intriguing Joker... but alas, he's supposed to be playing Lex Luthor and he utterly fails. Lex can and often has been portrayed as not mentally healthy, however, zany does not suit him well, and that zanininess does not contrast with the attempt at serious takes and issues so much as just jar the viewer. There's no sign of the master mind with the cool collected presence hiding the obsession and envy of a man who must destroy Superman.

 

Heck, there's little control at all. Instead you get the modern day equivilent of a mustache twirling caricture villain who ties women to train tracks. Some will protest that Hackman was wacky, but at least the movies he was in had surrounding camp to take the glare off. Eisenberg is a decent enough generic master mind I suppose, but he, or at least the performance he gave here? sucks as Luthor.

 

If you've missed the trailer they've played a thousand times and somehow missed another bad guy...

Doomsday- Doomsday has no personality in the comics, and this stays true to that. He is more a force of unnature, and I was good with that. Impressive fight scene with him though. Some may not like the CGI touches, but it didn't bother me.


 

Lois Lane- I'm still not sure on the casting of this one, but if you liked Lois in MoS, you'll be fine with her here. She does advance the plot, but chiefly she's Superman's inspiration. Whether you find that romantic or diminishing is up to you. Curse of the romantic interest applies here. I will give her credit for guts in more than one scene though.

 

Other mentions characterwise- Some folks complain about how the other Justice League members were introduced, but frankly? I thought it made sense. Unless you want to explain why Aquaman wasn't stabbing a certain bad guy along side the others? or Why Flash isn't doing his zippy distractions? This is nothing that let any of them shine, but it does establish that yes, they're out there.

Perrty White gets pokes at the 4th wall, and proves himself to be both a foil and aide to his reporters. No complaints, no praise.

Martha Kent.... I actually liked her better in this movie. There's a scene where she shows remarkable poise that one might expect from the mother of Superman :)

 

Senator Finch, a bit character I really liked because she seemed to appreciate the difficult nuances on both side of the superman question.  

Lex kills her, of course... and it's a damn shame as I found myself wishing she'd stick around as a voice of the US government at its sanest!


 

I suppose that's it for the characters...as for other things?

 

The Plot- The first 20 minutes are a bit choppy, no doubt. They try to piece things together, and if you haven't seen MoS or watched a batman movie EVER, you might still be confused despite their attempts to catch you up. There are holes in the plot as it grows...

but the more we got into the plot, the better it got imo.  Certain drums were beat too often "We get it, Supes is a Jesus metaphor to a lot of folks" but then they were beat too often in other movies too. I found myself engaged, and caught by surprise by a twist or two, ones that almost redeemed Lex as a villain.. almost.

 

But I really got into it. The further we got, the more I wanted to see it through. The second half was way better than the first, which means it wasn't perfect, but it is way better than the second half sucking after a good first. At least imo.

 

One thing I really enjoyed

Superman calling for help to save Martha.... his mother, and how it sends Batman back on his heels as that's the name of his own mother. Some may think it was cheesy, but at that moment, you could SEE Batman's realization that... "Holy crap, I'm the bad guy here!" and it really really worked for me.


 

I do have to wonder if a lot of things here weren't so specifically for fans that non fans will be a bit lost. Maybe that's why the critics savaged this thing so badly. They were confused? I'm not sure. 

 

Major Spoiler though...

Superman gives his life to stop Doomsday. Incredibly heroic. I wondered for a moment why he didn't just hand Wonder Woman the spear, but she was busy with her lasso holding the monster in place. Further spoiler... Superman's grave shows signs that he's about to top Jesus and get back in one day instead of 3. I guess we'll see.


 

The Fight Scenes/Action- CGI might be over used, and a bit obvious to those of you with clearer vision than I, but I enjoyed the action. It was rocking, rolling, and kicking butt. Superman had plenty of scenes were his raw power was obvious, and his courage showed. Batman makes a mention of the Wayne family originally being hunters... and yes, he makes a believable show on how he could challenge a Kryptonian...

All though it helps when the Kryptonian refuses to kill you even when his mother's life is being used as extortion


 

The other visuals- Still too dark (And I mean in the lighting) for my liking in many parts, but actually less of a headache to strain to see than Daredevil on Netflix in that regard. Symbolism abounded, the homages to certain comics were obvious, and so on. The costumes looked fine (And again, I'm delighted Superman was wearing something with yknow... COLOR in it). 

 

Tone/Mood- This movie takes itself pretty seriously. if you are wanting Marvel /Whedon Banter, no. There are some great interactions between characters, but it's a battle of idealogies rather than quips. Now, that's not to say I don't love me some Marvel Banter, or that Marvel doesn't have higher messages too, but expecting Batman V Superman to have Avengers style chatter would be like expecting Batman Begins to be like Ant Man imo.

 

THE VERDICT/Grade-

I really really liked this movie. It gets a solid B, and had it not been for the weak link of Zany Luthor casting/writing and some misteps in editing, I would have given it an A-.

For those that prefer the 1-10 method. I'd give it a 7, maybe even a 7.5 (Would have been a 8.5 or even 9 if not for the above mentioned problems).

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So murdering Batman, too many characters, confusing first half, Grimdark, uneven and hurried intro of Justice League members and main bad guy sucked is worth almost 8 out of 10 to you?

 

Given I don't agree with all but one of those, I stand by my own evaluation of a B/7. And frankly, your post makes me want to floss because it seems like you might be trying to create some build up in my mouth with things didn't say. Sorry if that sounds touchy, but that's a pet peeve of mine.

 

Murdering Batman- Ignoring for a fact that Micheal Keaton Batman strapped a bomb to someone in one movie, and gleefully blew up up a factory folks were in way too fast for folks to flee. Ignoring the fact that Batman in this is obviously based on the Iron Age stuff in DKR rather than standard fare  etc...

Kill Happy Batman extreme was chiefly seen in a dream sequence! The flame with the hostage  taker and the road rage were more nebulous but again, Batman in the movies has done worse.

 

 

Too many characters? Nope. Seemed about right to me in character number. Batman got more love time wise, and I do wish Superman had gotten more, but that was not a matter of too many characters.

 

Confusing first half? Not really. Choppy first 20 minutes is what I said, and when a movie is two and a half hours, 20 minutes does not a first half make. It did get better as it went along, but that doesn't mean the whole first half was terrible by any stretch.

 

 

Grimdark... no. dark, yes. Absolutely. But no more than Daredevil on Netflix imo and several folks loved that. It definitely fits the before the "dawn" angle in that Bruce is in a bad place, but the title has it right there on the tin imo.

The elements of salvation of Bruce, and Superman finding his heroism and reasons  for it certainly, in my mind, mean that while dark, it is not 'grimdark'.

I usually do prefer lighter fare, but this was pretty well done if dark meat must be served.

 

Uneven and Hurried JL- I wasn't complaining about too many characters, but unless I mistake you, YOU were. That would definitely conflict with ten minutes of "Hi, I'm the Flash" "Hi, I'm Cyborg..." "I'm Aquaman... now let's all leave before a bad guy shows up and we have to explain why the rest of us are sitting this one out"

Lex Luthor is studying metahuman stuff... Bruce and Diana find out about it, and get footage. It's a pretty fair way to drop directional seeds on what's to come but not create a giant plot hole.

 

 

Main Bad Guy sucked- Yes... he did. First thing we really agree on. But to be fair, he didn't suck on  the level of say Movie Parallax or Fox Galactus. 

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Ok, saw it and....

 

I actually liked it.

 

 

Clearly combined DKR with The Death of Superman. However, this movie is not as grim/evil/dark as has been suggested IMO. I liked all the major actor's portrayals, except for Eisenberg's extra-caffeinated clearly-insane Luthor. He was all over the place, almost like he was trying too hard.  Perhaps Cavill was a little bland. The first 45 mins of the movie are bit confusing and it felt oddly chopped and spliced, but as everything got explained it all came together. The dream sequences helped and hurt the story. They helped portray Affleck's sense of panic but they were also confusing.

 

- Who the heck was the guy from the future?  At least I 'think' he was from the future.

- Action was all really solid

- I never in all this time reading comics realized that Bats and Supes mother's names were both Martha.  Cool way to snap Bats out of it though.

- Best batcave ever!!!

- So how do they reincarnate Supes?  I'm assuming Batman will use the Kryptonian genesis chamber somehow?

- Geeked a bit at the appearance of the Parademons

- Loved that Batman is taking the lead and determined to form the Justice League to stop Darkseid.

- Sorry, still don't like the new Flash

- Aquaman's reveal was awesome

- Was the tech used to create Cyborg from Apokolips?

 

 

 

Mmm, my guesses on some of that...

 

I thought the time traveler might have been Flash , he didn't look like Booster Gold to me. Maybe a non CW Rip Hunter?

I'm very fond of CW Flash so Big Screen version may have a hard time selling me too. We'll see. Funny thing is, more than one post has said Ezra needs a freaking hair cut 

Loved Aquaman myself. Very Peter David, minus the Harpoon hand. I wonder how cranky he'll be portrayed?

And I am not sure after one viewing, but it looked to me like that was a mother or father box that merged with Cyborg. Could be totally wrong on that.

 

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Mmm, my guesses on some of that...

 

 

And I am not sure after one viewing, but it looked to me like that was a mother or father box that merged with Cyborg. Could be totally wrong on that.

 

That's the origin they used in the JL origin cartoon based on the new versions of the characters that I saw recently. I think it was JL: War.

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Murdering Batman- Ignoring for a fact that Micheal Keaton Batman strapped a bomb to someone in one movie, and gleefully blew up up a factory folks were in way too fast for folks to flee. Ignoring the fact that Batman in this is obviously based on the Iron Age stuff in DKR rather than standard fare  etc...

 

Prior movie portrayals of Batman acting too much like the Punisher don't excuse that continued characterization.

 

Really, in the last DC/Marvel crossover I read (the Perez art one), Bats goes out of the way to beat the snot out of the Punisher simply to highlight the difference in outlooks.

 

I haven't read DKR in years, but I don't remember him being particularly murdery. Brutal, yes, but I don't remember him doing much in the way of killing mooks. I could be mistaken, though.

 

That said, if I keep hearing positive reviews from fellow forumites, I may see it. I think the wife still wants to see it. She doesn't really give a hoot about genre tropes anyway. Early reviews -- and statements from Snyder, who seems to be one of the least genre-savvy filmmakers currently doing superhero films -- made it sound almost wholly unpalatable.  I am kind of curious to see how Bats/Wayne and WW are portrayed, too.

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