Batman v Superman: Great on Visuals, Light on Character

I finally got around to watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it about met my expectations, which were pretty low to begin with. I’d heard that the movie was just okay, and I can confirm that verdict.

I think some of this might come down to a difference of opinion between what I look for in a superhero movie and what Zack Snyder, the director, looks for. I’ve seen Man of Steel and Watchmen and 300 and now this. Each one has amazing visuals. Really impressive. But each one also has characters I just don’t care about. At all. The only reason I’m invested in Superman or Batman as characters is because of the history I have with them as characters outside of the films. That’s a real problem.

In Batman v Superman, Batman is a jerk. (Spoiler warning, I suppose, though this movie is old enough that I would think anyone who really cared to watch it and not be spoiled has taken care of that problem a long time ago). The first half of the movie is basically plot acrobatics to try and make a scenario where Batman and Superman will want to fight against each other. And you can tell just how weak it all is by how easy that problem is solved once they’ve had the requisite fight scene.

This keeps coming up throughout the movie. Alfred? We barely know him at all. Lois Lane and Superman love each other. Big surprise. But why do they love each other? No clue. Bruce Wayne misses his parents. Big surprise. He’s got cool cars and stuff. Okay. He . . . likes to brand criminals these days? That’s . . . creepy. And never really explained or explored. Lex Luthor? Just plain nuts (and annoyingly portrayed). Because.

Zack Snyder seems to view characters as pieces he has to move from place to place in order to make cool scenes in his films. The sad thing (for me) is that, while the scenes themselves are cool, the action is less than appealing. There’s a ton of punching. Wonder Woman uses her sword some. Batman has a some actually cool grappling hook sequences, but in the end, the action scenes blend together in much the same way as a Transformers movie. Snyder has a flair for visuals, but he leaves much to be desired when it comes to piecing those visuals into a larger whole.

And can I just complain about how broody the movie is? It’s like DC decided to go full bleak with all of this, ever since Nolan’s The Dark Knight was so acclaimed. It works when done perfectly, but in Snyder’s hands, it just sort of sits there on the screen.

So when I say “expectations met,” that’s actually pretty disappointing. Because this movie could and should have been so much better. It makes me very worried for The Justice League, because right now, I’m resigned to the idea that my idea of “good movie” is just fundamentally different than Snyder’s.

At least I still have Marvel.

4/10 for the film. Visuals are about the only redeeming thing. (And for the love of all that’s good. Why. WHY did they ditch Superman’s theme music? The music in this movie (by Hans Zimmer) leaves so much to be desired. And there lies John Williams’ themes, gathering dust.)

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