Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice | Fresh from his battles with Zod and survivors from Krypton, Superman finds himself against the most unexpected nemesis of all, the Gotham City Dark Angel also known as The Dark Knight and Batman.  An editorial treatment from West Coast Midnight Run.  Starring the music influence of musicians such as Henry Jackman, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren with the theatrical talents of Henry Cavill, Ben Afleck, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Amy Adams and Laurence Fishburne.



The editorial treatment of Batman vs Superman is in the final stages of publication, slated for the next few weeks.  In the meantime you are welcome to enjoy excerpts already posted at this blog and the main official website of West Coast Midnight Run.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN DAWN OF JUSTICE

By Rao* were you anticipating this movie as much as my pals and friends?  Sure you were in fact I was more struck by the movie critics storm that almost unanimously shredded this movie to pieces before opening weekend.  I normally dont include the consensus of movie reviewers in my review but in this case the bashing of this adventure made the news headlines, regular news outside the circuit dedicated to promoting and informing the public with movie-related entertainment and vibe.  The vehemence and animosity with which mainstreet movie critics attacked this production, took me and a few others by surprise, those of us in the smaller independent corner.

"Ms. Watkins, I want you to write a positive review on Batman v Superman for the publication!", that was our Perry White with a tell-tale edge in his voice.  "And how do I do that?, it's been a negativity storm all over the RSS newsfeeds and with media tweets?"  

"Does it look like I care how you do it?  Just do it, downplay some elements and emphasize others, it's that simple!"  I guess if the mainstream press is being negative, it is our charitable good fate to write it up positive,  just so we can be different and stand apart from the crowd.  Remember?  We are the underdog.  They cater to marketshare and Neilsen ratings and we are supposed to go for a hole in the ground.  "Just remember the absent are always in the wrong!"




I enjoy big budget science fiction movies no more and no less than most in my demographics pool.  If you were a big fan of Man of Steel, beware, this new adventure, starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck as the titular superhero characters, although similar in tone and visual style, is somewhat different from the reboot opening installment of 2013.
 
There has been so much media banter on the acrimony developing between team Marvel (Mickey Mouse) and team DC Comics (Warner Brothers' Tough Stinkin Rabbit) and the hype has skyrocketed towards heavens as to the duke-a-roo rounds between both movies from Captain America Civil War (yet to be released for the summer season) and Dawn of Justice.

One thing is certain this movie is really supposed to be Superman aka Man of Steel Part II and it gets a huge boost of adrenaline from the appearance of The Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight Detective whose series in the hands of Chris Nolan became hugely successful with critics and the box office, so much so it resulted in the re-styling of Man of Steel along the same lines.  The success of Chris Nolan's Batman with Christian Bale also obligated the studio to attach Nolan to this production as consultant, producer and script re-writes collaborator.




But how to breathe a gust of originality in a storyline that has been redone repeatedly in comic books, the origin story of the team up of the Justice League superheroes?  There are so many issues since the 1940s from DC Comics that have dealt with the teaming of Batman and Superman, two of the most powerful superheroes, in terms of comic book sales, from the publisher.

How do you make a mega movie series more successful, one with an advertising budget almost as big as the production budget of The Dark Knight? Gotta be original and hence the team up of Batman and Superman, which is collaborative and best of friends in the comic books series, takes on an adversarial twist in this movie for the sake of being new and original, to surprise global audiences.

But Batman and Superman at war are hugely mismatched no matter the amount of deadly toys Billionaire Batman covets and levels against his foes in Gotham.  Therein starts to unravel the production and generates so many irksome vibes and side snickers in the mind of the viewer watching the adventure at the movie theater.  Why didnt the producers go with someone on equal footing with Superman?




The Flash superspeed is equal to if not more than Superman's and his thought processes are faster allowing him to adapt just one super power into a deadly arsenal against his enemies.  He can vibrate through walls unharmed, he can vibrate any physical matter to shatter and explode, he can travel different pockets of time and space, he can whip up a tornado on demand and far more.  

Why not The Flash?  Why not Wonder Woman for that matter?  Oh yes she is in this movie and makes a really interesting splash, but this really isn't her movie nor does any justice to Wonder Woman, she has but a brief cameo and gives audiences a taste sampler for her upcoming film.  Why not Green Lantern?  He possesses alien weapons and technologies from a galactic civilization possibly more advanced than Krypton's and the Guardians are still around and have armed an entire galactic army of Green Lanterns to watch over the entire cosmos, millions of galaxies in scope.  

How come it isn't Superman vs Wonder Woman?  She is a god after all, much like Thor and she and her Amazons do not really care much for humankind.  They see us as squabbling trash and prefer not to interfere.  It's kinda like Vulcan elitism towards Humans in the Star Trek universe.  By the way, a Superman vs Wonder Woman movie or Superman vs Supergirl movie would have been great, the super powers are an even match.  One might say Wonder Woman has no known weaknesses and she can fly and has fists of steel just like the Man of Steel or Shazam*, another Justice League superhero that has gone inexplicably missing.

Batman up against Superman?  Well the only reason is what I just got through telling you.  Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy made a mega huge bash and success with global audiences, at the box office and with critics.  So the producers were stuck into using Batman to make a Superman/Man of Steel sequel and draw in audiences to ensure the financial gamble paid off.  After all the other superheroes from DC Comics do not have movies out yet, with the exception of Green Lantern who suffered badly at the hands of viewers and critics.  So Green Lantern was out from the get go, and the others, well we need a movie that competes with Marvel's/Mickey Mouse The Avengers and we need it now before the huge excitement over superhero team-ups becomes a fad of the past.  We gotta strike while the iron is red hot, so was possibly the thinking at Warner Brothers.




Is the entire effort rushed?  Did it smack of Catch Me if You Can?  Di Caprio is not onboard to answer us this question.  However it would seem that the film critics reacted with uncharacteristic nausea at the effort, so much so it seems as if the negativity may have been orchestrated to generate shock and backlash in the audience and create an extra push for moviegoers to go see the movie.  No big budget movie could be this bad and this one has Nolan onboard and the Man of Steel was too good to begin with.  And the moviegoer today is a just a little more cynical, a little more skeptical, a little more Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga Fame Monster vaccinated to swallow the straight "news" from the media.

And the next wave of news stories sizzling on the airwaves and the worldwide web covering this movie are no longer about the movie and the birth of the Justice League, they became about the audience thumbing its nose at the film industry critics, who continue to react in copycat fashion - rather than their reactions displaying the normal bell curve pattern of reviews, were more akin to the proverbial herd of the lemming in full gallop.

Some of what was intimated by the professional mainstream critics rings very true to this moviegoer, which creates a sense of dishonesty when you read the headlines and then go to a viewing and try to put together a positive review.  Yes some of the criticisms leveled at Batman vs Superman are right on the dot.  Yet the movie itself exudes far more charm as Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill portray superheroes with a little more adult flavor this time.  Outside of the muscle flexing battles, the storylines are jam packed and this one is the least campy of the Superman movies ever.  

The special effects are hot and sizzle just like Man of Steel.  Some viewers at the theater were parroting the critics in complaining about the violence and destruction and its realistic portrayal versus the infamous "care for life and innocent bystanders" shown by the Avengers characters in the Marvel movies.  Well if you have read the Superman and DC Comics they are rife with the adventures of The Man of Tomorrow facing off in gruesome battles that result in the destruction of Metropolis on so many occasions I lost count.  

And there are adventures of Superman and Green Lantern on faraway worlds that result in the total annihilation of planets.  No news critics ever complained about these before, published in the 1960s and 1970s to present day. and the comics books readers are and were mostly children and teenagers.  So I am not too sure what's up with Johnny Come Lately's song and dance.

Is the PC mania finally makes its moves on the PC World and the superheroes universe?  The storyline of holding superheroes responsible for damages is as old as the 1970s when Superboy and The Super Legion (in the 30th Century) are held to pay by the Galactic Council for destruction of property.  This so-called edge of reality imbuing comic book supeheroes adventures has been exploited for decades and now it's supposed to be originality at the movies, showing up in Captain America Civil War as the reason for the split between friends.  It would seem senators and leaders are oblivious to the greater destruction and death should the superhero self sacrificing "idiot" not step up to the plate and risk their hide because somehow they owe us something, some of whom are not even from this world and are readily brandished for public witch hunting at the slightest perceived offense.  So where are the adults in the Batman vs Superman hearings when Zod and team threatened to destroy the planet if Kal El did not step forward?  Supposing Kal stays in hiding as Clark and faces off against Zod like the rest of us?  Would that have made the fictional adults in the movie better off and happier?

Of course not, and the storyline is forced and gimmicky, along with a few others, that rob the film of its ability to soar above all other superhero movies.  This movie could have put all others in the dust and the jury is not out yet - moviegoers continue to flock to this film as of the date of this review.  Despite all of its shortcoming, the Superman and Batman brands have built loyal followings from the video games and comics books isles that have been whetting the appetite of the public for bigger battles, more violence and spectacular out-of-this-world action.  At this rate the Marvel movies and past DC/WB movies will start to look tame in a short span of time.

And then we have Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of the arch nemesis of Superman, Lex Luthor.  Again, it would seem that the production team attempt to be original with this project and they both fail and succeed with the portrayal of the villain.  This movie's Lex Luthor is suave, shrewd and manipulative but he is also immensely maniacal and with an ego the size of the State of Texas.  It takes ass to be in Texas but with Lex it takes a nerdy, whinny and extremely irritating portrayal to turn this Lex into less of a success.  This is the same talented Eisenberg who very ably portrayed a stage magician turned global MC for The Eye in Now You See Me (the sequel Now You See Me 2 is due out in June).  Unfortunately Jesse disappoints not for lack of acting skills but for lack of better lines handed to him and the Smallville Lex, Michael Rosenbaum, outshines him in poise and gamesplay as a more credible corporate super villain.




The nastiest misstep for the movie is the notion that Batman could outmaneuver or trick The Man of Steel?  After a surprise incident in Batman v Superman, he didn't even have to go hand to hand combat with the Dark Knight.  One mighty blow from his boot to the ground would have split the earth open and would have swallowed Batman and Batmobile whole.  However the director makes it obvious Superman is not out to get Batman.  Not even trying to fry the oversized rodent with a flair for being a detective and uncovering mysteries like super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  Unfortunately The Dark Knight has a different agenda and it is based on survival and the inability to tolerate errors that could lead to humanity being wiped off.  The central argument is so weak, being from all folks Batman, a hero who grew up in Gotham, made the villain by the villains and the cops.  How would a hero presume someone like Superman a present evil or a danger to Earth without doing his homework, a hero famed for being framed, super analytical, thorough and with a mind like a steel trap, who was burnt himself so many times - the logic defies convention for any moviegoer familiar with the story and mythos of The Dark Knight.

Let's try again.  The nastiest misstep for the movie is the extreme ease with which a certain person gains access to, and control of Kryptonian information and advanced alien technology and the manner with which a Kryptonian allows such technology to be accessible without placing safeguards,  or cleaning up the mess from his previous encounters with Zod and cohorts.  The ease with which we are shown these events take place is a plot failure if not a serious plot weakness that leaves the viewer feeling cheated.




Moving ahead there is Amy Adams as Lois Lane, she is being faulted by critics as too easy to fall in love with Superman.  Their argument goes, in Batman v Superman, she is like a character lifted from the comics books of yester-decades and not the sharp, on her toes, cynical reporter she seems at times.  

How could a woman fall in love with the mightiest of super heroes?!!!  Well for one thing he has already saved her from certain death a few times, as if of all the problems he is shouldering in this world he has eyes only for her.  Next, Superman is practically God in the Flesh he has a big size S for Saviour on his chest and thanks heavens he is not part of the priesthood.  Yet God is so approachable for Lois and is even so humble he goes on secret missions without letting anyone know of his identity or even his existence.  This god does it without pay or reward, without seeking the paparazzi's glamour and without regard to his own safety.  And this god is neither from around here, he is loaded with an exotic faraway culture and civilization and he has a super intellect compared to a human.  Now how can any woman (excluding Lady Gaga of course), especially one wading into a world of cheaters, players, skeptics and double entendres, not fall in love with this present from Destiny?  It's a gift from God.  I found the reviewers criticism of Lois' "easy" crush on Superman downright laughable if not butt fuggly stupid.

The supporting cast in Batman vs Superman is first rate.  Man of Steel had Kevin Costner (twice Oscar winner) onboard giving the previous film heft the way Marlon Brando lent gravitas to Christopher Reeves' 1978 classic portrayal of The Man of Tomorrow.  In Dawn of Justice, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortunes fame) and Diane Lane give this movie some of its best moments even though their roles and parts are minimal, their participation give the project polish, a level of sophistication and pleasure otherwise lacking.




"I am not a lady ... I am a journalist" - Lois Lane, Batman v Superman

Director Zack Snyder may be running into the question from fans that his Man of Steel scene with Lois prompted.  What does the S stand for?  Perhaps it's a flippant question but to be sure it looks awfully like the thing a reporter uses most in their trade: an about face, stylized, albeit flipped around question mark (?)

Mr. Snyder starts off Batman vs Superman with a scene stealing act, dreamy, and a reminiscent voice-over from Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, almost poetic in visual style and tone.  The movie winds down with an almost similar tone and scene, almost though not quite.  The hardest part about watching this film is knowing it could have soared much further and higher than its predecessor.  "Keep 'em coming for more, we need them hungry for the sequel".  Perhaps it's me imagining or it could be the directive from the studio, keep the fans wishing for a classic and keep them anticipating the next installment, salivating for that perfect adventure with your favorite superheroes.


Footnote:

Rao: Krypton's deity not to be confused with Ra The Egyptian god of Life and Death, Rao is often invoked by Superman when faced with nearly impossible tasks just as Wonder Woman often invokes Hera, the Goddess of The Amazons.

Shazam also known as Captain Marvel, outsold Superman comic books during the 1940s.  Shazam/Captain Marvel is not a Marvel Universe superhero, the character is owned by DC Comics, same publisher as Superman.





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