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Movie review: Dawn of the DC Movieverse

Warning: a little gentle spoilery for Batman vs. Superman. Also, you should be warned if you’re one of those automatic haters: I liked it.

Okay, I didn’t love it, and as we all know I’m easily entertained. Still, I don’t get the extreme hatred being doled out with a scoop shovel. The dislike, that I do understand.

The plot was “huh?” inducing. Basically Lex Luthor, for some reason long-haired and apparently a scientific genius who got all his dough from a not-nice dad, decides he has to destroy Superman. Why? My best guess is that Luthor is up to something down the road, and knows Superman will try to stop him.

Meanwhile, Grandpa Batman is still Dark Knighting away, as brooding as ever but even more violent. Evidence suggests he’s darker than ever partially because Joker killed Robin. In addition, the knockdown-dragout in Metropolis during Man of Steel led to the deaths and injuries of Bruce Wayne’s friends and destruction of his property. Bruce blames Superman for this, because, after all, Batman never caused injury or property destruction while fighting off supervillains.

So Luthor tricks Superman and Batman into slugging it out, while also quite literally raising his own supervillain, who DC fans will be chilled to know is Doomsday.

There’s more to it than that, of course. Like, two and a half hours more to it.

So, the dislikes? Okay, what is Luthor’s actual endgame? I don’t think even he knows what he’s trying to do. Kill Superman, yes—or at least get rid of Batman in the attempt—but then? What does he think Doomsday’s going to do after the big battle? Go raise chickens? Also, Luthor discovers an even Bigger Bad is on the way, a dark presence that always sides with evil, and he has to know that only superheroes might be able to fight it off. So … why is he intent on killing off the superheroes? (For you non-DC fans, the oncoming storm is one of the biggest of the DC bads.)

If it sounds like I’m saying the foundation of the plot makes no sense, that’s what I’m saying. The rest is mostly about Superman and Batman being emo, and generally with good reason, although at least Sups is getting laid.

Other problems:

Seriously D.C.: just a little humor? It doesn’t have to be Tony Stark funny all the time, but could we lighten up just a bit? It’s a comic book movie, for crying out loud.

I’m still not entirely sure how everyone figured out who everyone else secretly is.

How did Alfred, the butler, get such mad technical skills? Who’s dusting the furniture?

Lex Luthor isn’t Lex Luthor. It’s as if Luthor is doing his best impression of Joker, or maybe Joker disguised himself as Luthor to hide from an increasingly homicidal Batman. It’s a fun performance, but it’s not Lex Luthor.

Was it really necessary to pad an already padded movie with another look at the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents? Haven’t we pretty much got that down by now?

They should have waited to throw the rest of the Justice League in—it made the movie too long and added too much unnecessary stuff. I say this despite the fact that Gal Gadot stole the show as the unnamed Wonder Woman.

Which brings me to the things I did like:

See this movie on the biggest screen you can possibly find: It’s visually stunning. We watched it in 3D, and I jumped back more than once.

In your face, Ben Affleck haters! I held judgment, remembering how much everyone hated Michael Keaton as Batman—until the movie came out and he silenced the critics. As Grandpa Batman, Affleck does the same.

In fact, the cast as a whole was outstanding. That includes Jesse Eisenberg, playing some Bizaro version of Lex Luthor with Joker DNA in him. Holly Hunter was especially great, and it was nice to see a cameo by someone we thought dead.

For you Walking Dead fans, here’s a head-exploding cameo: Bruce Wayne’s parents are played by Maggie and Negan. *boom* That means Bruce’s dad is also the father of the Winchester brothers on Supernatural, where he also died while they were young. No wonder the guy got targeted, leading a double life like that.

There are nice shout-outs to the comic book fans, that don’t interfere with non-comic fans enjoying the flick.

Hans Zimmer’s music: Loved it. I have no idea how much Junkie XL contributed to the score, but he needs to slap his parents for giving him that name.

My wife swore she saw Chris Pine in a briefly glimpsed 1914 photo. She was right.

So, overall, yes—worth seeing. One of my major problems with Man of Steel was the huge amount of collateral damage, and I’m glad that was addressed in Batman vs. Superman. I just hope that they put some script doctors to work on Justice League.

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