Batman v Superman: Thoughts

I don’t usually review films, but I thought I’d share some thoughts from watching Batman v Superman last night. I’ll keep it brief and spoiler-free.

The Good

The movie starts out pretty well, as it sets up Bruce Wayne’s interest in Superman. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of an older Batman was excellent, even though he’s not the kind of Batman we’re used to. Jeremy Irons was great as Alfred, albeit quite different from how he’s normally portrayed.

I like Amy Adams as Lois Lane – she’s not too damsel-in-distress-y. I did find I was never worried for her safety, since it’s almost guaranteed that Superman will drop everything to rescue her. Henry Cavill makes a good Superman, but we didn’t get to see all that much of him in this movie, which is a pity given all the character development he had in Man of Steel.

The film is an impressive visual spectacle. The hand-held camera shots stick with the feel of Man of Steel, while going even bigger on the action and the effects. I watched it in 3D, and found this detracted from the visuals quite a lot (it’s no secret that I’m not a 3D fan, but that’s a story for another day). Hans Zimmer returns for the score, revisiting some of the beautiful themes from Man of Steel.

The Bad

Wonder Woman, while very cool, was totally wasted in this film – it could have been done without her and there really wouldn’t have been much difference. This was particularly disappointing for me, as I’ve been looking forward to seeing her in action since those first pictures of her appeared online. It would have been great to see her have a bigger part, or finally get her own film.

I feel I must comment on Lex Luthor’s assistant, Mercy Graves, played by Tao Okamoto, who is just so skinny – I actually thought it was distortion from the 3D at first. I know Hollywood doesn’t always promote healthy body images, but Graves was really on the extreme end of the scale for me.

As I mentioned above, the story started out quite well, but soon lost its way. Lex Luthor’s motivations were murky at best – I had to conclude that he must simply be insane, which made him boring instead of a potentially interesting villain. Several people with us compared him to the Joker, but he lacked any of the things that make the Joker a great villain. The actual Batman versus Superman bit was extremely brief given the title of the film, and again, the reasons for it were pretty vague.

The quick cameos from the other Justice League members felt like they should have been after-credits stings rather than part of the movie. It feels like DC is trying to play catch-up with Marvel with this one film. And seeing Batman’s parents getting killed again? I think that territory has been covered already. The dream sequences were also pretty weird and seemed to have little or no impact on the rest of the film.

Bottom Line

Batman v Superman is primarily a Batman movie, with very little time given to Superman, Wonder Woman or the Justice League setup. It felt like it should have been two or three separate movies. The plot felt wafer-thin, even though a lot of time was spent setting it up. The film is very well made, with great visuals, music and effects, but I was left wondering why the characters had taken the actions they did.

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