Enter the film we’re looking at today: Batman v Board of Education. While Man of Steel was the soft launch of DC Expanded Universe, devised to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this flick is the true start of the campaign. This film, like Man of Steel, was directed by Snyder. I’ve reviewed a few of his movie at this point, Sucker Punch being the film I associate with him the most (Note: I hated it). This movie is heavily influenced by the 1986 comic book The Dark Knight Returns which, along with Watchmen, is credited with ushering in the Dark Age of Comics. The hype machine for this movie has been running hard for over a year, mainly because despite the flick being done Warner Bros. opted to push it back from Summer 2015 to Spring 2016. Having been out for bit now the film has been met mostly negative reviews, with a few sprinklings of folk claiming it’s a fantastic film. Well, now that I’ve seen it myself I have my own opinions. And I’ve only been drinking a little bit, so I’m good to go!
Full review of Regents of the University of California v Superman after the jump.
[Warning: This review contains some spoilers but I do avoid majors ones.]
|They kiss, but Batman remains distant and never calls or texts|
So if you want a quick indication as to whether or not you and I would get along in real life then ask yourself this question: did the last sentence of that plot synopsis make you say “Huh, that seems out of character for Batman?” If the answer is “No” then please continue enjoying your life. If the answer is “Yes” then we should hang out some time. Maybe get some milkshakes.
I’d say most of the key actors in the film did quite well. I have to eat my words about Ben Affleck because he does a good job at the tricky balance of playing Batman/”Party-Time” Bruce Wayne, to the point that I’m actually interested in seeing him in his own film (especially if he is directing it as he’s a great director). Ditto for Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, who I was extremely wary of due to her limited experience as an actress. She wasn’t in the movie all that much but what little she appeared in she was cool and made me super gung-ho about her upcoming flick. Jeremy Irons is good as Alfred but there’s not a whole lot to say about it since he doesn’t do a ton (also I kept subconsciously waiting for Alfred to sing to Batman about how he needed to “Be Prepared”).
|Wonder Woman and, I dunno, her butlers or something|
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t like the tone of this film. Superman is such a hopeful and lighthearted character that it feels wrong that he’s in a film series this dark. Its defining characteristic seems to be “joyless” and that shouldn’t be the defining characteristic of a damn Superman movie. Batman suffers from this a little bit as well, though as he’s a darker character in general it’s not nearly as annoying. As much as I like Affleck here I did not like anything the character did or said. He seemed like a murderous idiot for about 86% of the film, which are not traits I associate with Batman. Yes, I said murderous; Batman kills quite a few dudes in this movie and even shoots a few crooks, which is weird since in the comics Batman is probably the most outspoken hero about “not killing”. (And yes, I’m aware that Batman has killed people in several of his movies but I hate it every time. One of the reasons The Dark Knight is my favorite Batman movie is because that idea is such a big plot point) Everything feels more somber than I want to see in a superhero film.
|From "The Dark Knight Returns"|
The comic this movie takes so much inspiration from
Bottom line is Korematsu v Superman is not a good movie. It is a bad movie. I did not enjoy watching it. It made me sad. It was too long, mostly dull, dubiously written, veered too far from what made the two main characters so cool and ultimately did not increase my interest level at most of the future movies it was advertising (Wonder Woman notwithstanding). Some people will tell you that complainers don’t like this movie because it’s not a Marvel movie. Those people are dumb because this flick isn’t bad because Iron Man isn’t in it; it’s bad because it was poorly made, end of story. Frankly, I think Zack Snyder is trying to bring about a Dark Age of Comic Based Movies; a darker, more violent era of superhero films. He’s like the artists and writers of the late-1980s in that he seems thinks The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen are the best and the brightly colored heroes of yore are dumb. Hopefully the critical failure of this movie will ensure a new Dark Age doesn’t happen.
|I'm sorry I made negative assumptions, Gal Gadot|
I'll see you next summer at the Wonder Woman flick
-Has some good performances
-Overly dark tone
-Filled with Christ metaphors
-Too much set-up for future films
-Has a really, really stupid title