Whose Side Are You On? Batman or Superman?

Image credits: iDigitalTimes.

Upon discovering the release and airing dates of the Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice movie last year, all I’ve done was wait patiently for it to hit the big screens in Malaysia.

I’ve always loved DC Comics (and Marvel too) and the movie only served to crank up my curiosity as to who would emerge victorious in the superhero showdown between the Bat of Gotham and the son of Krypton.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the movie came with Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles as Clark Kent / Superman and Lois Lane, respectively, and starred:

  • Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  • Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
  • Jeremy Irons as Alfred
  • Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman

The plot goes something like this, according to IMDB.com:

Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

When the movie finally came round this year, I readily bought my tickets and waited for the day to arrive. Suddenly, without warning, the Internet was buried under a barrage of criticisms regarding the movie. Critics felt the movie had let them down. Here are a few snippets from The Guardian, which entirely wraps up the movie for those who felt that the movie was a disappointment:

Ben Affleck may make a strong fist of his role as the screen’s grouchiest Batman but Snyder (who is no Christopher Nolan) mistakes “murkiness” for “darkness”, leaving his stodgy antiheroes stomping around in a Stygian quagmire of quasi-religious imagery, superficial set pieces, and – most damagingly – incoherent storytelling.

Jesse Eisenberg’s upstart Lex Luthor is surely the most irritating screen villain of the year, a twitchy symphony of babbled lines and out-of-context laughs which suggest that Snyder told him to “Do that guy out of The Social Network… only more so!” Luthor wants Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch to let him weaponise kryptonite; I just wanted her to slap him and be done with it.

Somewhere in this overcooked, underlit, indecipherable pudding of a movie there are a couple of nice performances struggling to get out. Jeremy Irons is fleetingly fun as Bruce Wayne’s trusty sidekick Alfred, but unlike Michael Caine he’s given no opportunity to graduate from endearing chippiness to engaging pathos, settling instead for the eyebrow-raising disdain beloved of John Gielgud’s Hobson in Arthur.

Amy Adams struggles to inject life into Lois Lane but she was unfortunately left to stare wistfully into broiling skies and generally needing to be rescued – a recurrent fate of women here, despite a heavily trailed, allegedly empowering appearance by a female DC icon.

I read some of these criticisms with a heavy heart, wondering if my RM38.80 for a pair of movie tickets and a popcorn combo was going to be an expensive disappointment. Some friends said that the movie had a lot more talk than action. Some said Jesse Eisenberg was an annoying but great villain, others thought otherwise. With mixed feelings, my husband and I eventually plodded over to the cinema anyway.

Yet, we emerged with a different view of our. While I could see what the critics meant regarding the movie, I couldn’t help but feel that Snyder might have given the movie an opportunity to build on a plot, instead of taking a leaf out of Michael Bay’s little black bomb book and blowing the whole screen into smithereens. Perhaps the critics were expecting more than just the words they heard. They wanted to see a winner. Either one superhero to blow the other’s brains out. For what it was worth, the movie even managed to make at least US$170.1 million alone over the Easter weekend.

Have you seen the movie yet? If you haven’t, here’s an infographics on what you need to know about the movie. If you have, what did you think about it? Was it as great as you had hoped for? Or did you think the critics were right?

Image credits: Are You Screening?

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