Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ★★

An ideas movie like this is always welcome in the increasingly myopic studio system. I just wish the ideas were interesting or of merit. This is all rather standard fare in terms of comic book narratives, maybe not what we've seen in cinema yet, but it's been wrung dry in comics themselves. When does power corrupt? When does a good guy lose sight of his morals? Etc, Etc. It's all rather basic and Snyder has never known an idea he didn't love to deliver in the bluntest way possible.

Snyder's direction is like a sledgehammer, which leads to the occasional good scene. The opening where the fall of Metropolis is shown at ground level is spectacular. The usage of longer takes as Bruce attempts to navigate his way around the city as it crumbles has a real visceral quality. The large monuments in the sky, and the two god figures successfully make humans feel like ants, and that is an idea he'd go back to again and again. The usage of Wonder Woman in the final battle also carries with it a kind of forceful resonance backed by Junkie XL who has a history of supplying momentum around tough, heroic women. Diana doesn't get much else to do in the movie, but her impact is felt. However, it'd be even more powerful if she weren't featured in three or four other scenes prior.

Aside from that BVS suffers from redundancy. Superman is compared to a fascist, people die as collateral damage to "heroic acts", and Batman mopes. Frank Miller was never the most even handed writer, and his influence is much stronger than Christopher Nolan here. Nolan is hardly present. This is a Batman turned murderous vigilante, and a Superman turned fool. That this idea was presented in the 80s and feels fresh to some in the cinematic world speaks to how poor Marvel has handled superhero diversity, but it doesn't win the film points for difference either, because even though it's a different idea it's dull in the hands of someone who doesn't interrogate his own thesis. Snyder goes for some of the easiest imagery imaginable when turning Superman villain by comparing his regime to that of Nazis. You could argue it's part of Wayne's own psychosis, but then Wayne is made a simpleton too.

The fact of the matter is that Snyder's hands are tied when trying to make a movie like this anyway, even in it's admirable attempts to create something wholly different within the comic book landscape, because he still has to hit the right notes to get to the predictable ending and set up the next movie. It's still an ad. It's just dressed up in different clothing.

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