Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Who will win?
Like you didn't see this review coming. People across the webs cry out in outrage! Fanboys form new ground-locked lakes with their angry tears! With such a racket - one that I'd argue was only surpassed by all the mass negativity towards Gods of Egypt - how could I not be expected to watch this thing and figure out what all the hubbub was about? Batten the hatches and pick your team, my opinions coming whether the signal shines or not.
Bruce Wayne's parents get killed. Again. We then cut to something else we've seen before - the last Superman movie's destruction of Metropolis, although it is at least from Bruce Wayne's perspective this time. We then fast forward a little bit to a more present time. From here, I'm going to just sort of spit out the main plot stuff - granted, if you've seen the trailers you already know the main points anyways so it's not like it's really going to spoil that much for you. Truth be told, the reason I'm differing from the norm is more because I can't recall the exact order of events in the first hour or so of the movie. Anyways, to the point, we have really three plots going on - the Superman plot, the Batman plot, and the Lex Luthor plot.
In the world of Superman, he continues to keep doing what he thinks is right, saving people (and Lois) and struggling with the fact that he can't save everybody. Of course, all this goes on as a divide opens amongst us regular mortals, where some find him a savior figure - a god really - and others find him as much more of a monster that needs to be held accountable for his actions. In the dark realm of the Bat, we get brought some vigilante justice that portrays batman in a sort of unique way. He's fighting his way through the ranks of crime, looking in particular for one specific man whose smuggling something into the docks of Gotham - something that might just be useful in battling a certain alien with god-like powers should he need to be pulled in line.
Now, Luthor's plot is what connects everything. See, Luthor is quite the rich guy, and he knows things. After discovering a rock from krypton that can cut and deteriorate the cells of kryptonians like the resident alien, he's been searching for a much larger chunk. See, he doesn't trust this new "god" on his doorstep, and he want's to weaponize it to make sure there is some deterrent against him doing whatever he wants. Of course, his plan is ruined by a politician refusing to give him an import license, so he concocts a plan to deal with that under her nose - securing himself access to the ship and body of villain Zod. Turns out, his plan is far more complex than what it at first seems however.
Alright, flat out let's get into it. Batman parts? Enjoyable. Superman parts? Enjoyable enough, given I've just never liked the character of Superman. Lex's stuff? Oh good lord, what is this a stinking Twilight fanfic? Sure, I can believe he doesn't like having a super-powerful alien that could wipe us all out, and I could buy that he'd do most of his plot through the first half or three quarters of the movie - but even then there are moments that require this guy to have near Deadpool-levels of understanding. Now, this is already a movie crammed full of stuff - what with trying to make sure they have their Justice League sequel all set up - and a good deal of this movie could play out the same by cutting a lot of Lex's plot out of it. The set up? Unnecessary - the world already doesn't trust Superman after the destruction. His seeming vendetta against Batman? Not even really touched.
So, outside of that, how does it play out? Well, relatively enjoyable really. The Batman scenes ended up coming out really good, even if i could do without the shower and montage scene. They tend to be the much more action-oriented parts of the movie, whereas Superman's is more (dare I say) character-driven as he tries to be helpful, has people doubt him, and wonders if maybe his father really was right before he got sucked into that tornado. In contrast to Batman's more focused and dead-set sections, it does a pretty good job of humanizing the alien quite well. It helps in both cases that acting is done phenomenally rather across the board - except a few scenes of Lex being a little too eccentric. I'd wager that I certainly felt more invested in Supes this time around as opposed to the last, and Batman actually felt like this far more imposing figure when he donned the cowl.
Effects work is certainly appreciating the movies budget. Things look great, from explosions to flying and vehicles, even the fights that you can tell probably have some real heavy CG involved still look quite well polished. Costumes are nice as well - I mean, Superman's hasn't really changed from what I can tell, but both of the Bat's outfits as well as that wonderful woman's have some nice detailing done to help with some character. Audio isn't necessarily any real earworms, but that Wonder Woman theme in the final battle certainly would be added to any playlist I meant to enjoy with energy.
In the end, although the movie does have some issues, for the average viewer this is quite an enjoyable ride. Yes, "fanboys" will be in outrage over every little detail that doesn't fit their perfect canonical renditions of every minor mannerism a character is supposed to hold to - but is that surprising? Let me put it like this - as a fan of Resident Evil (the video games), I'm appalled by what they did in the movies as far as the source material goes, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing (at least the first one) is actually pretty stupid fun to watch - and most people seem to be unable of separating the two. Yes, Batman has a decent tangential body count in this movie - but then again, Batman started off as pretty much a clone of The Shadow, down to using guns and having the same car. Yes, overtime the character has developed to be this anti-gun ninja who doesn't kill out of principal, but if that is the one thing that's making you not like this movie, then maybe you need to step back and watch the movie for what it is - a movie. Effects are good, acting is generally well done, Batman hasn't been cooler in years, and the biggest complaint I have is that a single character seems a little like they just wanted something or someone to drive all their cool scenes together. Watch it and form your own opinion - but then again, that's just my opinion.,
*** Review of Ultimate Edition ***