Monday, March 28, 2016

Dawn Of Justice - The Dojo Review!


Let me begin by saying...I fucking loved this flick!

Are we clear? Good. There be spoilers below, so tread with care.

God and Man
I have no idea why people are so pissed off about this movie, because from where I sat it delivered the goods on all the beaucoup counts it was expected to deliver on. I've read several reviews now that pretend to punch holes in the plot, but which mostly demonstrate that the reviewers either wanted another movie all together or didn't really fully pay attention in this one. Is it a perfect movie? Hell no, but it's a damn good one!

A god among men
Why am I cursing so much? Because the reaction to this movie demonstrates one of the themes I've noticed now over the decades of watching superhero movies--the closer a movie cleaves to the source material, the more people hate it, despite claiming the former is what they wanted. They don't, they should want a good movie and this one is. So what's the rub?

A god descending
This is a movie which asks some big questions about the nature of superheroes and how they fit into the regular world, how a godlike figure of unimaginable power is perceived by the world at large. Some reviewers seem puzzled that different people have different responses to Superman's actions a few years before, and also some reviewers seem not to understand why people would blame Superman for failing to keep them safe from all threats all the time. Anyone watching the Brussels bombing reactions should have a pretty good handle on this one.

A goddess with a sword
Lots of folks bitch that there's not enough Wonder Woman, and then say the movie is too long. I suppose they wanted less Batman or less Superman, but given that the title is Superman V Batman, that seems unlikely. And besides, there was just enough Wonder Woman, she's in it plenty and does exceedingly well at what she does.

Apokalips on Earth
Folks bitch about the dream sequences but by the end of the movie, the distinction between what is real and what is not seems to be a major thematic point, so I rather liked how all the reality shifting kept me on my toes. And that goes for the generally dark tone of the whole magilla. There's no law that I'm aware of that states a superhero movie must be a light-hearted romp. Because the Marvel movies blend humor and irony into their mix, there's no reason that a DC movie need ape that formula. Instead we have a take-no-prisoners-superhero-noir here, something for the fans to chew on. Wasn't that the formula that made Frank Miller a comic creator hero? So why not a movie with the same vibe? I like it. (And I got to see actual Para-Demons! Darkseid is coming! Woo-fackin'-hoo!)

A Bat among men
Ben Affleck was great! Gal Gado was fantastic! And Henry Cavill is a dynamite Superman despite the hate that seems to be building for his performance. Throw in cameos of Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and this was a superhero rich brew that simmered perfectly for this fanboy. You cannot have too many superheroes and since this is a Justice League movie sort of then I don't get the gripe. Were there too many X-Men in those movies? Nope.

Evil incarnate
Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor was perhaps a place I might pick a nit, but by now a lot of people have played that role in a lot of ways and I rather thought his Jokeresque take on the character was intriguing, especially given his hints of dark times to come. Lex is not all there and that's obvious and by the end we have a hint as to why -- Darkseid's coming!

Eye see you
And before I forget let me say I love the way they use Superman's heat vision in this story. Eyebeams are about the coolest power aside from being able to fly, and it's neat to see the dramatic and proficient use of a literal look-that-can-kill in a story like this. The eyes are the windows to the soul and that's certainly what happens in this story.

Coolest moment in the whole damn movie!
The death count is high in this one, but that was true of the last one too. Batman-gets-a-gun is a total thing of its own, and I get why Batman lovers might be offended, but I think the changes were dandy and the tone fit perfectly with an exceedingly violent movie which was never ever intended for small children. (Superman jumps in bathtub with a naked Lois for Krypton's sake!) So keep the rugrats at home, this one ain't for them -- get an old Super Friends dvd and hand out a few pixie sticks to tide them over.

I'm eager to watch the next installment - the reason a linchpin movie franchise quick-starter exists. So don't hate on me because I was thoroughly entertained. None of these movies is going to be perfectly what we have dancing in our heads, but this one was a blast and half and I enjoyed it all the way through.

Rip Off 

3 comments:

  1. Wow, Rip - I did not expect this level of enthusiasm! Your review runs pretty much counter to most of what I've seen. I appreciate your thoughts, though, given your age and experience with these characters. I'd expect my students to share many of your thoughts, so it's impactful to me that your sentiments come from someone "like me".

    That being said, I'll probably stay away. Count me in the camp that prefers the lighter tone of the Marvel movies. While the Nolan Batman stuff was good (although I didn't care for the third installment), it was a bit too dark. And anyone who wants Man of Steel can have it -- give me Christopher Reeve in Superman I and II.

    So you've picqued my curiosity. I almost went to see it today on my last day of spring break and then decided not to. Maybe after school one day this week.

    Thanks again,

    Doug

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    Replies
    1. The worst thing a movie can be is dull and this one (to my mind) was far from that. And I thought it rather heavy too, filled with some strong ideas and even stronger images.

      I loved Christopher Reeve, his Superman was a revelation, the most perfect synthesis of an actor and a superhero ever put onto film, but with Reeve's interpretation on the record, I think there's room for deviations from that ideal.

      Some disagree and I just read a good defense in the abstract for why such deviation should be considered with care by Mark Evanier (check out his website). But we've reached a new time when we can have a variety of versions of a top character (Spider-Man comes to mind) and folks will respond.

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  2. I finally went to see it with my daughter today. Probably wouldn't have seen it in the theater, but she wanted to see it in 3D. I thought it was pretty good, better than I expected. Was not excited about Ben Affleck as Batman, but he convinced me. I liked the concept of an older Batman and younger Superman, and this was my favorite screen version of Wonder Woman ever (sorry, Lynda Carter). Cavill does a pretty good job as Superman (Reeve's still my favorite), however, Luthor made my skin crawl every time he appeared on screen.

    The DC movies are too dark, but Batman is supposed to be dark, so it always works to me. This one was not bad. I might even go to the next DC movie without having to be sweet-talked by my daughter. :)

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