Let me sharpen my skewer to shish-kebab this steroid-infused side of beef.
Y’know, once upon a time I would have been thrilled to anticipate a Superman/Batman movie, but there were too many red flags with this one: the movie had been scheduled for release in July of 2015 and was pushed back to May of 2016, then moved up to March of 2016 because Warner Brothers didn’t want it to go head-to-head with Captain America 3: Civil War. The trailers were all gloomy and dark. The fannish buzz was mixed at best.
Okay, first the positive things about this movie. Fooled ya! You didn’t think I had any, did you? ;)
The best thing about this film? Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman, and more Wonder Woman! :)
Yes, Gal Gadot was fantastic as our Amazing Amazon, living up to the name. She was cool, competent, and every inch an Amazon Warrior. She used the Golden Lasso! :) DC really dropped the tiara on this one. They should have her movie scheduled for summer release, not next year! I’m really looking forward to her movie in June of 2017. Love her theme music: exotic and exciting!
She did say that she had turned away from the world of man a hundred years ago, so that indicates she missed the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. Did World War I’s savagery turn her off? Did Steve Trevor die and break her heart? We see him standing at her side in an old photograph taken in Belgium in 1918.
Some Diana and Lois scenes at the end: brief, but there.
I did like the scene between Clark and Martha Kent, and Clark’s mother being in danger that finally brought Bruce to his senses.
Jeremy Irons as Alfred was delightful with snark and loyalty.
Laurence Fishbourne as Perry was pitch-perfect.
Not positive but powerful: Superman crying while everyone else was dead around him in the hearing room. Points for not showing the dead bodies. We must be grateful for small things.
The negative things:
Ben Affleck won’t be making anyone forget about Christian Bale anytime soon, but he was saddled with such a depressed Batman that he was one step away from self-immolation the whole time. He never once cracked a smile except for a brief second as Brucie.
This Elseworld’s citizenry doesn’t deserve Superman. Ironically DC’s citizens are more Marvel than Marvel’s citizens, and it used to be that DC’s people would praise and honor their heroes while Marvel’s yelled at them to get out of town. DC's heroes were the ones who inspired hope while Marvel's were angsty, mopey, and fond of navel-gazing.
Unfortunately for this movie I recently re-watched Superman I and II after years after my last viewing, and the Christopher Reeve films were charming, with the crowds cheering Superman when he performed his first public rescue instead of throwing rocks at him. Funny how even after everything the country had gone through in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the 1978 and 1980 versions of Superman on the big screen were far more hopeful than in 2016. I nearly laughed at loud when Lois said Superman was a symbol of hope in this movie. Hope? The people hated Superman, and if I was Clark, I would have told them to eff off and flown off to the Fortress of Solitude or a new planet where I’d be appreciated.
The only attempt at lightheartedness was a moment when after Diana showed up, Batman asks Superman, “I thought she was with you.” “I thought she was with you.” No one in the audience laughed. I think we were numbed by then.
Violence was plentiful, though gore was at a minimum. In fact, there was more violence in Man Of Steel. But Zack Snyder sure likes watching buildings collapse.
I wondered if this Elseworld took place on the world written about by Ray Bradbury where it rained every day and the sun only came out for one day every ten years. Darkness was all around. Even the people seemed to dress in drab browns, grays, and blacks.
Lex Luthor as a redhead harkened back to the Golden Age Luthor, though this one was younger. He also was too Joker-ish. Lex is a man who appears normal, though ruthless in a business sense. He doesn’t bounce off the walls in front of people.
Nice cameo by Jonathan Kent but even that was depressing with the story he told. There was not an ounce of joy in this film.
I had read rumors about one of the reasons that Bruce was so depressed was that Jason Todd had already been killed by the Joker, but we saw no evidence of that unless that Joker-scrawled Bat-suit in the Cave was supposed to be a dark Robin suit. And there were rumors of Nightwing appearing but nothing. *sigh*
Throughout the entire beatdown fight between the World’s Finest I was thinking, “Bruce, you Bat-dick!” His glee in beating up a Kryptonite-weakened Superman was pretty squicky. And why did Bruce feel that being prepared against a possible rogue maneuver by Superman entailed trying to kill him? At least Superman had a good reason for fighting Bruce (trying to save Martha).
I know that Lois was the logical one to rush in and tell Batman who Martha was, but wouldn’t you have loved to have seen Diana show up and box Bruce’s ears? All this testosterone floating around! Like little boys on the playground beating each other up. Poor Clark. He at least tried to tell Bruce what was going on before Mr. Bat-Dickery went on the attack.
Jeez, Clark, maybe you’d want to stay dead in this Elseworlds. Everyone hates you (easy to laud you when you’re gone) and you were not appreciated. First week back from the dead and they’d be trying to run you off the planet again.
Well, at least the fact that both mothers were named Martha was put to good use in this movie!
Here is my spoiler-free recommendation. I recommend seeing this film in a first-run theater if you:
Don’t want to be spoiled.
Enjoy the historic importance of Superman and Batman meeting for the very first time in a big-screen live-action film.
Enjoy the historic importance of seeing Wonder Woman in a big-screen live-action film for the first time evah!
Enjoy the historic importance of seeing DC’s Trinity all on screen together in a big-screen live-action film for the first time.
Enjoy seeing Batman and Superman beat each other to a pulp like two idiots on the local playground.
If none of the above applies to you, then wait to see this on Netflix, or if your first-run theater has a Bargain Day (I did that today), or the movie ends up at a bargain movie theater in a couple of months.
Letter grade: C+. The ‘+’ is all for Wonder Woman, otherwise this would be C-.
Stars: 3 out of 5. 1 star is all for Wonder Woman, otherwise it would be 2 out of 5.
I guess it’s the squandered potential that gets me, but what can you expect from a man (Zack Snyder) who is inspired by Frank Miller? Miller, the guy who made Batman a psychotic who kidnapped Dick Grayson after his parents' deaths and forced him to sleep in the Cave and eat rats, and later Miller character-assassinated poor Dick in a way that I can’t even wrap my head around.
Miller, who made Superman a spineless Government stooge, Diana a vicious man-hater who called men sperm receptacles, made the rest of the JLA idiots and buffoons, and made Black Canary immediately have sex with the Bat-God upon their first meeting. So I guess we were spared most of that, except for the Bat-God beating up Superman. Boy, I wanted Clark to give Bruce a good shot!
I don’t know how many fanworks will come out of this movie. I’ll bet money that it won’t be on par with the first Avengers movie or Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier.
*puts away skewer for now*