Saturday, March 26, 2016

Thoughts on Batman vs Superman

I enjoyed Batman vs Superman. It was good, but not great. I think Ben Affleck as Batman was one of the highlights though.

Here's why I think that, it will contain spoilers.

Firstly, I thought Affleck was great as Batman. Things I liked about this Batman:

1. Not once did I think about Affleck playing Batman whilst watching it, it just made me think of Batman.

2. As well as Affleck's performance, it also look great - the costumes were spot on.

3. Nice to see Batman doing a suitably bad ass looking work out. You don't get to be Batman without some hard graft in the gym.

4. Batman doing some detective work. One criticism I read was "Why didn't Batman work out the White Portuguese was a boat?", which seems silly, because he did in the end.

Some have taken issue with Batman killing people. Yes, that's not his way in the comic books, but Batman's been killing on the big screen since Michael Keaton (I'd argue not all of these are definitely kills, but the vast majority are):

It's easier in comics when you're dealing with still frames to have non lethal fights.

What I didn't like though were Batman's use of firearms, given this:

Granted, he was using the guns dropped by others, but still. However, that was a minor gripe. It would have made the film better to see Batman only using the guns he picked up as clubs.

I was more uncomfortable with seeing Batman break another man's neck - granted it was a Darkseid hinting dream sequence, but seeing Batman physically kill a man in that fashion seemed the most un-Batman like. This is not rational given the life ending injuries he has given, as shown in the video above.

I've also heard that people didn't like the slightly more cruel take on Batman in the film, but Miller's Batman was clearly an influence, and whilst All Star Batman and Robin is seen as an else worlds story, Miller has said that Year One, All Star Batman and Robin,  and the Dark Knight series are all in the same universe. One of the big criticisms of All Star was the sadistic take on Batman - so maybe they shouldn't have looked as much to Miller's take? Either way, I though it was a great take on Batman, and I look forward to more.

The final fight with Superman and Batman was good - I've read of some complaining it wasn't, and that there should have been more intricate choreography, but I don't think so, their trading of blows was good - I guess with the hype people wanted more.

I also liked Wonder Women - she kicked ass! That said, I've not really read much Wonder Woman, so no idea if she reflects her comic book alter ego so well or not.

I like the hints of things from the past, eg:

Lastly, I liked the plot. It made sense to me - I know others struggled with it, but I think they've taken things a bit too seriously. Yeah, there are plot holes, but that's not uncommon, and if you just sit back for the ride, I don't think it's as terrible as some reviewers made out.

Yes, there were missed opportunities to maybe deal with more serious topics like social problems, politics and xenophobia, but this is Batman vs Superman. I wasn't going there for a complex plot, I was going there for some fun, and to watch Batman and Superman slug it out. The plot is certainly where the film couldn't have been improved, but I don't feel it needs to receive the savaging it has.

Whilst film critics can be useful and informative, this film was never going to contend for an Oscar, and I think the proof in the pudding will be the audience's response. I do hope they disagree with the critics, and that the critical panning doesn't jeopordise the DC Cinematic Universe plans - the film hints at lots more to come, and I want to see it all!

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