“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” Film Review

By Mike Reistetter

Reviewing expensive, cinematic torture calls for using language applicable to the lowest common denominator, especially when it involves superhero films. Which gives me the freedom to declare that Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated Man of Steel follow up and Justice League predecessor, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was like any stink bomb in a stink bomb testing zone. It STUNK.

The DC crossover film responsible for making a population of comic book fans’ wildest dreams come true opened with a troubling scene that had myself, and several other members of the audience at my local theater, AMC Loews of Stony Brook, Long Island, N.Y., simply uttering to one other, “What?”

The scene in question was a young Bruce Wayne in an overly rushed and incoherent, expository origins sequence. Following the slaying of his parents, Wayne rises from the bottom of a cave with a series of darkly depicted bats, with the implication of gravity defying flotation, years before Wayne would endure through any of his vigilante training. From an analytical standpoint, the move raised both eyebrows. From a genuine film lover’s standpoint, it made absolutely no sense. But listen, the film has just begun, give it more time before you build a definitive impression.

Some two and a half hours later, I am feeling like I have aged a decade. The saving grace of Ben Affleck’s fine acting, compatible with the likes of Christian Bale of The Dark Knight Batman trilogy, could not undo the damage done by a creatively redundant and painfully predictable script. Not to mention, the often Anti-gun Batman was wielding automatic weapons in every other scene! Blasphemy.

The night after seeing the excruciatingly long and mind-numbing Batman v. Superman, I rented Cloverfield (2008), which I looked forward to seeing for the first time in preparation for the film’s surprise predecessor, 10 Cloverfield Lane, released on Mar. 11.

I must say, the original Cloverfield served me a plate of disaster, terror, and fear-inducing action better than any non-Christopher Nolan directed superhero flick ever could. Perhaps this is because the storyline and unique filmmaking strategies were condensed to become achievable in under an hour and a half.  But on the surface, the film was flat out more entertaining and made logistically more sense as a movie than Batman vs. Superman.

During the penultimate fight scene, Batman lends Superman his mercy after the revelation the two heroes both have mothers who share the same name, “Martha.” It was a cheap and unrealistically dramatized excuse used to formulate a bond between the two in order to defeat their villains as a dynamic duo, if you ask me. It could have been handled with more craftiness and respect for the intelligence of the complex-thinking filmgoers. I was expecting more of a mind-jolt than the “Martha Card” my friends and I have already come to mock and satirize as a part of our daily banter.

I am uncertain if I will end up paying to see either the standalone films for Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or The Flash due to come out over the next couple of years, or the upcoming Justice League films. I have always considered myself more of a DC fan than Marvel. But lately, none of the films from either side have done anything for me. Suicide Squad looks incredible though. Praying it will not disappoint.

Hopefully, if the superhero film craze we are witnessing ever dies down, I can, by the end of it, have relinquished my propensity to compare films of the superhero genre to The Dark Knight films. That is completely unfair. It is like comparing Harvard and Trump University.