Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

There’s sure no joy in Gotham tonight, boys and girls. Because this bloated bust takes all the fun out of what could have been a flashy and fiery mash- up.

Full disclosure: I may not be enough of a fan to spout obscure comic book references, but I am hooked in enough to get a little bit emotional on seeing Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman strap on their collective fury. But instead of allowing the convoluted story to focus on those (and the rest of the supporting) characters, writers David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio say whatever it is they are trying to say with fist fights and explosions. If the cheesy looking effects aren’t enough to disappoint, I found the lengthy and pretty obvious 9/11 reference early on in the film definitely off putting. Not only is this redundant;  too many movies, I think, rely on having skyscrapers crumble against the New York skyline these days, but as it is done here, it is shock and no awe. We have no idea what’s going on and find ourselves not particularly caring.

Preview audiences have been begged by the filmmakers (director Zack Snyder himself appears in a short pre-game warm up) not to give away any of the plot twists. No fear of that here: I barely could understand any of what was going on. That is not, dear horrified fan boy, because I am stupid. It is because there was such little explanation as to all the mayhem and hatred. We just know that everybody hates everybody else and then they blow things up. For some that might suffice, but not for me.

For the record, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill look as handsome as they can and Amy Adams continues to feel out of place as Lois (nice stilettos, though!).  Gal Gadot looks promising as Wonder Woman.  Jesse Eisenberg has fun with the only anywhere near developed role of Lex Luthor, but it almost feels as if he’s acting in a whole other film.

I was perhaps one of the few critics who actually “got” Man of Steel, Snyder’s intro into the genre. But this gore fest has no time for mood, no tolerance for emotion. What has always made us love superheroes was not just their brawn, but their soul. Let’s hope we get more of that in the mix next time around.

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