Batman vs Superman – the beginning of a beautiful friendship

(The friendship is Me + DC cinematic universe)

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Please note this is a spoiler free zone, my friends. You are safe here.

As you may be aware, the much anticipated Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (hereafter referred to as BvS) opened in cinemas this week. And as you may also be aware, critics’ initial reviews were mixed, leaning towards negative. And as you may also, also be aware, I was super (heh) excited for this film, and thus, these reviews concerned me. Many of the complaints were along the lines of “I didn’t ‘get’ this film” and “this is nowhere near as good as Marvel”.

After seeing the film for myself, however, I have come to a lovely conclusion.

Critics don’t know shit.

First things first, do not go into seeing this movie expecting to see a Marvel film (i.e. a fun, witty, action film for the whole family). DC films (and DC as a creative universe) have always been dark and gritty, more concerned with the exploration of humanity and heroism than punching bad guys while quipping one liners that audiences then quote for months afterwards. That’s not to say that Marvel films are in anyway inferior, as Marvel also explores these themes to great effect.  The issue is, the Marvel cinematic universe are Hollywood films. DC films are comic book films.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews comment on the pacing/storytelling technique in BvS. They don’t like it, or find it jarring. This is because they are film critics and are not used to comic book story telling. This is not their fault. But it does make it frustrating, as a fan of DC, of comics in general, to see them comment on the film this way. Kind of like watching an American drive on an Australian road, then making a post on Facebook along the lines of “I don’t like this!! The Australian attempt at making roads is awful! Don’t ever drive in Australia!!”. BvS is like a comic book come to life, except with no difficult to follow panels, or speech bubbles. And its visually stunning, as expected from Zack Snyder.

From someone who is not a film critic, here is what you need to know about BvS:

  • It is an excellent beginning to DC’s cinematic universe (yes, I know Man of Steel was film numero uno, but it had its own issues, ones that I will cover in a post in the future). BvS sets the tone for the future, and does a terrific job of teasing future installments and characters.
    – on a side note, if you were disappointed/befuddled/snidely upset at the boss fight in Man of Steel, as many were, BvS addresses it. There are consequences.
  • Characterisation! My most sincerest apologies to Mr Ben Affleck for ever doubting he was up to the task of being Batman. Dare I say, best Batman yet? Only more viewings will tell. Superman also felt like fully formed multidimensional character in this film. And I though I was going to despise Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, but holy moly, gosh darn can that dude act.
  • WONDER WOMAN! WONDER WOMAN! WONDER WOMAN! In her first outing on the big screen EVER, and as the first female superhero to get her own standalone film (one that takes its character seriously, Catwoman and Electra don’t count), there was a lot riding on Gal Gadot’s WW in this film, and boy does she knock it out of the park. Its a smaller role than I was expecting, but they make the most of it.
  • The third act of the film will literally kick your ass.

Remember: Do not see this movie expecting a Marvel blockbuster. There are no white dudes named Chris here. What there is is a fantastic Batman Vs Superman film, a fantastic DC film, and a fantastic introduction to what is sure to be one hell of a cinematic universe.

Watch out Marvel, DC is catching up.

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Feel free to comment, but please keep it spoiler free!

EDIT: As my friend Brodie just pointed out to me, there is in fact a white dude named Chris in BvS. The final Chris of The Chrisis. But he’s only in it in a photograph, so it does count. Yet.

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