Monday, April 4

Musings on a Second Viewing of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

This is actually being written several days after the fact. On Friday I went to another matinee showing of Dawn of Justice, this time with a friend. I enjoyed it again, maybe even more. What's more, my friend – who did not, by the way, see Man of Steel at all – also enjoyed it, although he is not a comics fan. About ten years older than myself, he has what I figure is pretty much a normal familiarity with the characters, based on reading comic books when he was young. And he enjoyed it. Which, along with the generally-positive audience assessments reported even by Rotten Tomatoes, further confirms for me that the critics' panning of the movie is largely rubbish. 

I definitely picked up on a couple more things, as well – Lex did turn over the painting so that the demons were coming out of heaven; the music when Wonder Woman was introduced was foreshadowed when Bruce opened the file containing her World War I picture. Given that Hans Zimmer was joined in the music credits by another name (I don't remember it, but it's the same as has been announced for the upcoming Wonder Woman solo movie), I think we got a preview of the general style of music we have to look forward to there. I can't say it's really to my liking. Oh well.

I still think overall the movie had some uneven editing, particularly in the beginning. But I do not agree with those critics who call the movie unrelentingly “joyless” or that Superman never cracks a smile – or worse, that he was utterly alien and unrelatable. I think he was all too human in his emotional turmoil given the seriousness of the situation. It was a serious movie, overall – like most “serious” comic book movies marred by the requisite world-threatening menace at the end – but a serious movie with serious underlying themes of conflicted humanity vs. The Other, matters of appearance and perspective, and – as pointed out in one brilliant review I read but have typically lost – how the media drive that. It was not a Marvel movie. And those people wanting to see a Marvel movie were doubtless the most disappointed in this movie. There, I said it. This – was – not – a – Marvel – movie. And in those places where it tried the most to be one – Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor – it was at its weakest. But overall, I was pleased with it, more so than I feared I would be given how far I knew it was departing from what I believed the sequel to Man of Steel should be. Frankly, that was not going to happen, given the virtual imperative in these kinds of movies to always outdo the last one in sheer spectacle, which usually comes at the expense of story.

One other impression I did have, in conclusion. I did not time things, but I was surprised at how, this go’round, it seemed that the fight-scenes at the end were relatively brief and swiftly told. I think they loom largest in our memories because they are virtually the last things that are seen, but I wonder just what percentage of the running time of this movie they really are, as opposed to story/plot/narrative…?

That's pretty much all I have to say about that. Thanks for reading.

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