Monday, 28 March 2016
#24 BATMAN VS SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisneberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Gal Gadot, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane and Holly Hunter. Written by David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio. Directed by Zack Snyder. Running time 151 minutes. Budget $250 million dollars.
WHAM! BAM! POW! Here it comes! Batman Vs Superman, DC's answer to Marvel's dominance of the box office. A film yearned for by fan boys for what seems like forever. Indeed it's also one of the true great cinema tropes, that of the team-up or the 'versus' movie. Universal did it back in the 1940s with their monster team ups culminating in the 1944 movie, House of Dracula where Dracs, Frankie and Wolfie have a house party. Since then, Alien and Predator have done it, as have Jason and Freddy and let's not forget Godzilla vs King Kong! And comics have been doing it since the Human Torch teamed up with Sub Mariner back in the 1940s.
And now it's time for two of the oldest comic book superheroes to square up and find out once and for all who would win in a fight between, the Man of Steel and the Dark Detective. Well rest assured I'm not going to spoil the outcome here! You're going to have to sit through all 151 minutes yourself to find out yourself. Although the answer comes in at the 120 minute mark or thereabouts.
So, what about the previous 120 minutes and the following long minutes afterwards, are they any good? Do they hold up? Well, rest easy true believers, this is by no means a terrible film, it's just not terribly good either I'm afraid to say.
It's exceedingly and un-neccessrily long, indeed if you cut out all the loooongggg slow motion sequences you could easily cut half an hour off this film and not lose a thing. It's also incredibly stupid, characters say and do utterly stupid things just to make this bloated script stumble along to the next plot point. It's extraordinarily poe-faced, taking itself far too seriously but worst of all, it's staggeringly dull. Dull with a capital D. U. L. L. long portions of this film just putt-putt along waiting for something to happen, indeed the main bout, that between our two heroes is two hours or so in the making. A slow ponderous build up, like the longest wind-up in history and the incredibly annoying thing is that when it finally arrives it's utterly ruined by the knowledge that if Superman had just taken a moment to explain his predicament to Batman, then they wouldn't needed to have fight at all.
Basically it's a mash up of two comic book classics, Frank Miller's Dark Knight and The Death of Superman. The story, reduced to its basic essence is as follows: Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne doesn't like Superman. Lex Luthor doesn't like Superman. Holly Hunter doesn't like Superman. Even Superman doesn't like Superman. Bats swears to do something. Lex swears to do something, Holly Hunter swears to do something. Supes sort of mopes about. Brucie needs Kryptonite and spends ages getting some and Lex beavers away like a mad scientist making something really bad. Anyway after about 2 hours of this back and forthing, Bats and Supes sort of meet up have a punch up and then team up with Wonder Woman to defeat something really bad created by Lex Luthor. So far so the trailer. And then the ending arrives and everybody hugs and tells each other about the power of love and working together like some sort of team and Superman asks where Dawn is?
But, it's not all hateful tedium, there was plenty to like about this film: I really liked Affleck's Batman, I really liked Jeremy Iron's Alfred, I also really liked Jessie Eisneberg's Lex Luthor (although he's the only actor who seems to think he's in a panto) and like every one else, I loved Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, although when you think about WW she's a bit of a dick. BUT what I didn't like was Henry Cavill, he really is a charisma free plank of ham. Every time he's on the screen a little part of you dies, he looks like he's trodden in a dog poo, all scrunched up face and pouty-like, with his hideous slicked back, side-parted hair and his dreary, colourless suit. He mopes around sucking the fun out of everything, like some sort of fun-sucker. And when he's Clark Kent he's a whiny little bitch, but at least his hair looks nicer.
The fights are for the most part great, particularly when it's against humans or the titular one of the title, it's just when it becomes a CGI slug fest, you utterly lose connection with the reality and there's no sense that our menage a trois are actually working together, apart from the 'I thought she was with you.' line which is bloody funny during the final battle no one said anything.
But enough waffling. I had gone on to write about all the plot points that left niggling questions in my mind, but seriously what's the point? In a nutshell, this is a big bloated, stupid superhero blockbuster and as such does exactly what it says on the tin. It cost an astonishingly stupid amount of money, it features astonishingly stupid dialogue and characters doing astonishingly stupid things to push the whole astonishing stupid thing along. It's by no means hateful, it is at times thrilling and exciting, particularly Batman's part but ultimately it's far too long and it's the length that drags this down and there's not nearly enough Wonder Woman.
Unlike the last Star Wars movie, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man 3 and even the Nolan Batmans, I won't be going back to see this again, once was enough. I might pick up the Blu Ray if it's unrated, but I'll probably wait for it to turn up in my local CEX store.
A poe-faced, glum, grim and moody experience with not one scintilla of light or fun. If that's going to be the DC way then good luck but I'll make mine Marvel.