Sunday, 5 November 2017

A Perspective: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Part I)

A film is a series of moving pictures. A movie is a film telling a story. 

BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (EXTENDED EDITION)




Okay, to start off this (spoilerific) perspective, I want to address the complaints about the actions of the characters. Batman kills. Superman kills. I won't be complaining about it here. I take the stance that Snyder/Warner/DC own the property and this is what they wanted to do with the characters. Just because the character's are not how they are currently being portrayed in comic book/TV canon, it doesn't mean that the movie is wrong for it.

However...

By their own rules, you should take each character as it is given within the movie verse. This works fine but for one character.

Jimmy Olsen.

The character given as Jimmy in the movie is only done so as a way of subverting the audience. Lois meets cameraman Jimmy. Jimmy then turns out to be a CIA agent and gets shot in the face. Huh. So why was he Jimmy Olsen...? He's moniker-ed as Jimmy simply to red herring the audience. There is literally no other reason for it. It stops the viewer from questioning what's happening. It serves no purpose in the narrative, and could have been anyone else.

So moving on.

Good Film/Bad Movie?  

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (I'm calling is BvS from now on) suffers horribly as a movie. The pacing is shot. It doesn't make sense in places. Character motivation skews to fit action. There are plot holes big enough to lose a Chevy in. But it's a good film. Beautifully shot. Mind blowing FX. Standout performances. Great action. The soundtrack.

So what went wrong? And to that aim, what went right?

Let's begin.

Opening Pointlessness

Totally wasting Jeffrey Dean Morgan

The opening scene of the - Oh God, why? - Wayne family being murdered, subsequent funeral, and pointless shots of a cave full of bats is utterly moot. The only point of the scene is so we can be reminded of Martha Wayne's name (more on that later...).

It's well enough shot. It tells the story. It gives Batman his origin. Again. Which would be fine, but we skip from this to jaded "old" Batman. Um. We're expected to just accept Robin's costume. References to Joker. Alfred. Wayne Manor being destroyed. That's some pretty big leaps of faith for a film that thinks we need to see Thomas Wayne gunned down in an alley. 

We know it. I'll explain why you don't need the Martha bit later. 

And what was with Bruce being lifted out of the cave by the bats? He was posed as if being crucified. I though Superman was the Christ metaphor? Or wasn't it real? It certainly isn't physically possible, but hell, it's a comic book movie. Pointless.

Then we pass the credits.

The destruction of Metropolis (or: the end of Man of Steel).

Bruce Wayne to arms!
One of the main scenes of the movie, and giving Bruce Wayne his motivation for the next three hours is the destruction of Metropolis and death of the civilians. It's a harrowing scene to watch with it mirroring events all over the world today.

The action blends seamlessly with Man of Steel. The FX are outstanding. Hats tipped to Ben Affleck. His performance in the scene is excellent. When the buildings are coming down, seeing him run into the dust cloud brings emotion. Almost tears. It's this type of scene we came for. It's this type of scene that roots us to the chair for the run time. It is outstanding movie making.

No. It's outstanding film making, because one scene does not a movie, make. 

In part II we meet the titular characters and the rocky movie. (Not Rocky. That's a different Rocky movie.)

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