Friday, March 25, 2016

WonderCon! Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

To really kick off the Comic-Con spirit of the weekend, we took in DC Comics cinematic slugfest BatmanVSuperman: Dawn of Justice at L.A. Live's 4DX theater. If you'll recall, 4DX is a 3D projection with seats that move, vibrate, punch you in the back, spit air at you with wind and water effects to give you a more immersive experience. BatSupes has been fighting bad press since it was announced as it just seemed like a less thought out cash grab of Marvel's connected cinematic universe. Warner Brothers is guilty of only seeing films as franchises and products but hey, you're getting a $250 million adaptation with two of the most popular superheroes in the world with A-list stars and resources. So let's just remember we've come a long way. Affleck's casting as Batman was a surprise, I like the guy but saw someone like Josh Brolin in the role since he's physical and a little crazy in real life, like Christian Bale and Michael Keaton which the character needs. Early fan reaction was positive while reviews have been eviscerating. I went in with low expectations, anticipating a wall to wall action fest with bad CGI and lofty self serious drama.

I enjoyed the film, it wasn't an overwhelming action or video game looking spectacle. The action was actually surprising subdued and the CGI looks a lot better on the big screen than in the commercials. Ben Affleck is solid as Bruce Wayne and Batman, disconnected, calculating and brooding while poor Henry Cavill's Superman/Clark Kent isn't given nearly as much to do and does most of his acting through his furrowed eyebrow. Going in, I was on #TeamAlfred as you just knew Jeremy Irons would bring some class to the proceedings which he delivered on. Gal Gadot was excellent as Wonder Woman and a highlight of the film. Amy Adams is her usual spunky self while Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor got a little Joker for me. Both leading men get to show off all that time in the gym as well. Being a 3D film, director Zach Snyder really missed some opportunities to take advantage of the format. With so much driving, flying, sliding and crashing, a few POV shots would have been awesome. The final battles are excellent as Batman takes on Superman then they team up with Wonder Woman to fight the giant Doomsday. I found it funny they made a point to announce the city streets were mostly empty after many a complaint have been leveled at tentpoles like Man of Steel and The Avengers for their wanton destruction of populated cities. I appreciated the more intimate fight scene with just a few figures instead of having them battle an endless army of faceless Storm Troopers.

I'm not chomping at the bit to see the film again but I dug it and would experience it on the big screen again before it goes out of theaters. 4DX wise the wind machine element was way overused and you felt a little beat up during fight scenes with the jostling and back pokes. But it does put you into the movie more and as soon as you think it's going slowly, boom! Bats fly out and your seat jerks you back to attention. But poor Superman, he's never really been done well in a film as his character is just too bland and a supporting character in his own sequel. He's supposed to be invulnerable yet he's brought to his knees by both Lex and Batman. While Bats' suit is practically indestructible as he's thrown through walls, shot in the head and stabbed but keeps on kicking. Ah well, bring on more Batfleck, we all knew he was the more interesting character.

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