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Batman V Superman: The Threeview

After all of our trouble finding someone who was even willing to review Batman V Superman, it turns out we needn’t have worried quite so much. Not one, not two, but three reviewers have submitted their thoughts on the newest installment of the DCCU for your perusal. See what they thought:
Where do I begin? I think that our friendly neighborhood geek Mike Fatum impeccably articulated may of the reasons why so many fellow geeks were reluctant to watch and/or review Zach Snyder’s new Batman V Superman film. After seeing the film last night, I found arguments both for and against seeing the film. Since BvS features our beloved trinity, I thought it might be a great format for delivering those reasons. Therefore, my review will deliver it’s own trinity. Below are three reasons to see the film, and three reasons not to see the film.
REASONS TO SEE THE FILM
  • It’s Epic – It’s big, giant, majestic, and grandiose. It’s budget is estimated to be $250 MILLION dollars. With that much money being spent on the film, how can you not want to behold what they have created. Besides, who doesn’t want to see DC’s iconic trinity finally up on the silver screen.
  • Beautiful Cinematography – If there’s one thing that Zach Snyder is good for it’s gorgeous shots. This film is no exception as the shots are very beautiful. The opening sequence will be etched in my mind forever!
  • Wonder Woman killed it! Gal Gadot gave an incredibly solid performance, and I am so happy to see such a competent woman take up the mantle.
REASONS TO AVOID THE FILM
  • Too many story lines crunched into one – This seems to happen to at least one film of almost every long established comic book character. The production tries to draw upon all of the major events in a characters life in an effort to push development. Sadly, it always glosses over giant chunks, it always decreases the efficacy of said intended development. BvS is no exception to this.
  • Gotham and Metropolis were indistinguishable. They were both dark, dangerous and brooding. So I couldn’t tell the difference.
  • Too many dream sequences. There were at least three dream sequences in the film and there weren’t any clear visual cues to differentiate from reality. It’s was a little frustrating and confusing.
In conclusion, although BvS was formulaic and predictable, all of the actors nailed their performances and characters to the wall! The BvS MVP is undoubtedly Jesse Eisenberg. He is the Heath Ledger of our time, as his Lex Luthor has taken the character to new heights which we have not yet seen. Although you shouldn’t expect perfection, you should definitely see BvS and decide for yourself.
I owe Joel Shumacher an apology.
I used to proclaim often and loud that Batman and Robin destroyed my faith in DC movies. “They’re too silly” I would say. “Everything happens all at once” I would say. “What is with the Flouronic Man?” I would say. What can I say? I was young.
Mr. Shumacer, I’m sorry.
I may owe Mr. Snyder an apology as well, but I’m not ready to give it yet.

-Warning from here on there are several minor spoilers-

I will say this nice thing to begin with. BvS is the best Hans Zimmer music video Ayn Rand could ever have made.

Why invoke the name of Rand? Because Bruce and Clark have been made into love letters to the Objectivist Alpha Male, he who has power enough to no longer need morality. In Superman’s case we see this actively encouraged by both the Kents, “You owe absolutely nothing to the people of this world Clark” says Martha in a speech that could have easily been written for Margaret Thatcher. And the inspiring story that Jonathan gives him? How growing up the farm was about to flood and they diverted the water to the Lang’s farm and as they heard the livestock drowning his mother baked him a cake.

And Batman? Somehow despite being raised by the only voice of concience in the movie the “supreme student of the human condition,” when challenged about his motivation, quotes the Cheney 1% doctrine VERBATIM!

Somehow Zack Snyder has pulled off a feat that I didn’t think was possible. He made a movie where the only unlikable characters are the two title ones. Even the absolute victim Doomsday (inexplicably given the pre 52 Superboy origin) and Steve Jobs – I mean Lex Luthor – are more likable, and in Lex’s case far more interesting.
Luthor, in classic style, brings up some valid points but those not lifted (almost verbatim) from Superman Returns are dripping with the same rhetoric Rand would use when railing against the tyranny of altruism. The most notable exception is the way he introduces the upcoming Jim Lee trilogy with menace and panache.
From the word go this movie is emotionally brutal. I know that like Uncle Be,n as long as there are Batman stories, we are going to have to watch the Waynes get shot again and again. but the slow motion tight shot on the hammer of the gun caught in Martha’s pearls just comes off like fridging.
Then we see Bruce get lifted aloft on the wings of bats (no, really) in the first of so many messiah images you can make a drinking game. Fast forward to present day and Batman looks like he was written by Frank Miller and Superman by Alan moore. I mean gattling guns? And tossing a car filled with people into a propane truck? And that’s Batman. Superman comes off a little better he just doesn’t care as long as Lois is safe.
All this edited in a way that feels like a 4×4 panel grid with no sight guides.
There actually are two things I truly enjoyed in this movie. First, the Hans Zimmer score politely grabs you by the lapels and emotionally throws you against the back wall (I mean that in a good way). Second, the supporting cast without exception is magnificent. Anchored by the troika of Gal Gadot, Lawrence Fishburne, and Jeremy Irons. We see a story among them that almost treats both Batman and Superman as antagonists. And Lois Lane is far and away more of a detective than Batman who basically tries to punch a mystery until it bleeds clues.

Which brings me back to the pacing. Everything comes too easy or too hard, major plot points are literally handed to characters while the climactic showdown is beset by so many arbitrary narrative roadblocks inserted like an inverse Deus ex Machina that a 30 second disagreement with a few punches turns into a 10 minute contest over who is the most self righteous.

You may wonder why I am glossing over Wonder Woman here. I decided to leave some things spoiler free.
If you asked me, I would not recommend you see this film.
Grant Corvin:
(Grant Corvin is a new guest author! He normally reviews movies for Michael the Comic Nerd. Welcome, Grant!)

BvS… it’s not terrible, but my God, it was such a boring slog to sit through. Expect a few spoilers.

First off, the main issue: this is a joyless ride. And that’s this movie’s main offender. It doesn’t help that there’s next to no character development. It’s.one of those instances where it’s either brooding or plot, but there is little meat to the story itself. There were sparks of life and potential for something much stronger, but unfortunately the writers and Snyder focus too much on the carnage instead of making it meaningful. Instead, we get a convoluted plot of Luthor trying to manipulate Batman and Superman into fighting each other, which makes Batman look like an idiotic stooge at times. Superman, despite all the talks and concern about being an almighty person, feels shockingly weak and powerless, and not in a good, metaphorical way.

It also doesn’t help that there are sub-plots that have no business being here. Wonder Woman makes no impact on the story, and if she was removed, it wouldn’t have any significant damage to the story (and if anything, the pacing would improve). Same thing with the metahuman sub-plot. It was unnecessary hyping for “Justice League” and some of the individual meta-humans (and don’t get me started on the first appearance of “The Flash;” the rest of you leave hipster Flash alone, it was his off day). Truthfully, this problem applies to Batman as well, as they laid seeds for his anger and frustration, but did very little to explore and justify it.

Acting for the most part was fine, but no one was particularly fantastic (although I will say the standout was probably Jeremy Irons and Lawrence Fishburne). Affleck was fine, Gadot was somewhat hit and miss (I honestly preferred her when she was Diana Prince vs. Wonder Woman… although a lot of cringeworthy moments of writing didn’t help her). There wasn’t much for Cavill to work with either, as he came across as bland yet again. The worst offender, however, is Eisenberg as Luther, who’s manic behavior was more jarring and annoying. This was an instance where people confused strange for interesting, and it just didn’t work.

Piggybacking on the writing, there were a lot of cheesy lines that everyone had to deal with occasionally… except for Alfred. He was fine. But there were so many times I was wincing I lost count, and these lines also impact performances from time to time.

The special effects were fine as well. As you know Snyder is s visual director, it’s safe to say that these were utilized well. It was also nice that there was some saturation to the colors this time around.

The action, however, was uninteresting for the most part, save for the scene where Batman takes out an entire floor of thugs. The main reason being is there was some style and panache to the preceding ass-kicking. Everything else was just sort of a sloberknocker of uninventive punching and laser blasts.

On a side note, I appreciate the casualties were kept down. Superman flying with Doomsday into space or abandoned parts of the city? Smart. Kinda like what he SHOULD have done with Zod in “MoS.” Well, more of what he should have done anyway.

In terms of the Batman controversy… if you’re a fan of Batman, the fact that he kills will definitely bug you. He kills several people outright. However, Snyder made a point that some of it was more by proxy, and in his defense… yeah, some of the deaths were the criminals’ fault. And, to be fair, I feel that he’s still less of a sociopathic killer than Michael Keaton’s was.

As I said, it’s not terrible, but it is overlong, unfocused, disjointed, and an overall bore. I’ve seen superhero movies (“Fan4stic” will hold that honor for a while) and other flicks this year (here’s to you, “Gods of Egypt”) that are still more boring and dull. But if you didn’t like “Man of Steel,” you’re not going to do much better here.

Grant Corvin
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Having double majored in Art and Film at SJSU, Grant is a self-proclaimed cinephile (who's still trying to build up his repertoire) and an absolute gamer geek. Not only does he try to make them, but he also does let's plays and helps out with an indie review channel from time to time.
Brian J. Patterson
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Brian J. Patterson (contributing writer) is a commercial, film, and theatre actor based in California. He works in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, with some appearances in New York City. His writing for Ace Of Geeks primarily centers around awareness of diversity and positive representation in entertainment. A self proclaimed ‘geek’ having proudly accumulated a comic book collection which has surpassed a net worth of approximately $12K, Brian usually focuses on the ‘comics (or sci-fi) 2 film’ genre. He is honored to have been given the opportunity to work with AceOfGeeks, loves geek culture, and especially loves interacting with fans. His three life dreams are: 1) to be cast as a lead character on a Sci-Fi channel show, 2) be the first openly gay action-film star, and 3) later host a television show which explores diversity within geek culture. You can connect with Brian on all his social media accounts by visiting www.brianjpatterson.com.
Malkontent Blizzard
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