batman v superman: dawn of expectation

batman-v-superman-trailer-screengrab-36I feel like I’ve reviewed Batman v Superman a dozen times or so in this past weekend as many people have asked my opinion on this very polarizing movie. I tried my best to stay away from reviews before I watched the movie so I could go into the experience with a somewhat open mind, free to form my own judgments without prejudiced praise or slander from professionals and peers.

I put my digital recorder to use and recorded my snap judgment, driving home from the theater after my first viewing.

Yes, in the span of two days I had seen the film twice. Is it worth seeing twice? No. But it’s a little better the second time.
Worth seeing in 3D and/or IMAX? Not really. You won’t be disappointed, but it’s not like Star Wars or Pacific Rim where you’d want the largest screen to get the most out of that movie.
Should you still see the movie if you haven’t already despite the bad press? Yes.
Is it as bad as everyone says it is? No.
Do I need to see Man of Steel before seeing BvS? No, but it helps.
Should I bring all the kids? You can… you just might want to take them to get ice cream or do something happy afterwards.

My experience in both viewings were pretty similar. And I’d feel safe in assuming that on average–AVERAGE–the general consensus was “meh.” In other words, it’s not a great movie but it’s not horrible. This partially has to deal with the ending, which I won’t spoil here. Some people loved the movie, some people hated it, but the vast majority lives in the middle and probably expected more or better. I really can’t say, and it’s difficult for me to understand why. Perhaps it’s this comic book fatigue I keep hearing about. Or maybe we’ve been spoiled by Marvel’s (and Christopher Nolan’s) awesome movies, that we expect all superhero fare to meet the bar that they’ve set, and feel let down when we’re presented with something mediocre that we expect should be amazing. It’s a tough call and there isn’t really one simple answer as to what makes BvS lose when compared to a film like Deadpool. But that is getting into an entirely different debate. We can discuss on Twitter.

My opinion still hasn’t changed. There were some really great moments in the movie, but overall, I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t blown away by it either. I was entertained but I’m finding people’s reactions and responses to be more entertaining. I may have some indifference towards BvS as I’m more of a Marvel fan. So, I’m a little biased. Just a little. I love ALL of these movies, but I’m a little bored with Batman, and Superman really has done nothing for me. Yet, I’ve watched all the movies and cartoons anyway. I am just tired of seeing these new versions and eagerly await representatives from the Amazons, Atlantis and beyond.

I will stand in defense of director Zack Snyder. I think he did a great job considering the amount of pressure he had and still has on him. He still has two more films to make in this universe and he already didn’t have the majority on his side. That is something I’m still trying to understand. I thought we collectively liked 300. Watchmen I know people had issues with but overall I thought was well done and a great adaptation. Sucker Punch was a Snyder fever dream which I didn’t care for, nor did I hate. And with Man of Steel, he set forth on a vision that seems to be jarring for a lot of viewers.

And perhaps it’s because we’re so used to seeing Superman as a bright, shining figure of smiling happiness that seeing him in this darker, grittier light makes us uncomfortable. We have these expectations based on how we’ve seen him before that we can’t accept to see him with a dose of our real world sensibilities shown on him. These days, society has been more gloomy and cynical than ever, and Clark Kent is a suped up reflection of that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with optimism and hope, and as long as Superman, Batman and especially Wonder Woman are still guarding this world, we’re not completely hopeless.

It is my opinion that in a few years time, opinions of this movie will change. While a single film should be strong enough to stand on it’s own, and in my opinion this one does, we all know this is part of larger universe… and franchise.

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March 2016
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