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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Review – Minor spoilers

Batman-v-Superman-Trinity-Wonder-Woman-Ben-Affleck-Henry-Cavill-Gal-Gadot

I heard a lot of bad reviews on this one before I saw it, though I didn’t read any that had spoilers in them. And I know it’s on its way out of theaters, but I have Things To Say about it, so here we go…

A friend of mine said that it wasn’t nearly as much of a trainwreck as people made out, though there were issues. I trust her judgement, so I went to see it. Full disclaimer, I haven’t read the comic on this one, so this is just about the movie. I’m not going to compare/contrast or note any lack of cannon issues.

(You probably already know this, but…)

I’m a huge Batman fan. More so than Superman, though I do love the Man of Steele, too. I love the idea of an ordinary human going up against crime and winning, for the most part. Also a huge sucker for angst and revenge stories, which totally feeds into my love of Batman. I haven’t read all the Batmans, but I’ve read enough, and seen every movie and the cartoons, and… yes. I let my geek flag fly on all things Batman.

I’ve only read a couple of Superman comics, though I’ve seen almost every incarnation on the big and small screen, including the old black and whites from way back in the dark ages. ;o)

Wonder Woman… well. Let’s just say I’ve had a *ahem* crush on her since before I knew what crushes were. I’ve read and seen all there is, pretty much. There isn’t nearly enough out there, though I won’t get into my rant about female superheroes here. Heh.

All of that (repeated) background is to let you know that I’m not a dilettante. I know the backstory of every single character in all three series in print and on screen. Despite all of that knowledge, I was so freakin’ confused that nothing made sense for about the first half of the movie. And it was allll down to the story choices. I don’t know whether it was the script, or the director taking liberties with the script, because I haven’t read the script. I do know that David S. Goyer is a great writer (though not the only name on this one) and my first thought after the movie was a disappointed, “I expected better from you, David.”

Upon reflection, I know that it’s not necessarily the writers’ fault that the story fell down. The director has final say about what gets cut and what doesn’t which can add to a story or wreck it.

For instance, were it me, I would’ve axed all of Bruce’s backstory because we all know about his parents and his encounter with the bats when he was a child. It didn’t add a single thing. No need to rehash it. (Okay, not everyone, but probably 97% of everyone going to see the movie) I would’ve taken time to explain why Bruce was calling someone named Jack ‘Dad,’ because that? That confused the shit out of me. Unless I misheard, which is entirely possible, and this Jack person was just a very good friend or maybe an uncle or foster father. Whatever the situation, if he was a big enough influence to catapult Bruce along this particular trajectory, we should definitely know more about him.

There are a number of other things that completely confused me, but to list them would make this a spoiler-centric review which I’m trying to avoid.

I am going to agree with every single person I’ve spoken to about this movie and state that Gal Gadot was the best thing about it. She was fierce. She was believable. She was mysterious. Her story made complete sense in the midst of the larger plotlines. Best of all, she brought Superman and Batman together in a way they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to manage, but was far more than just a plot device.

That’s not to say that Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill were bad, because they weren’t. I really enjoy Henry Cavill as Superman (I’d love to see him play a not-as-dark Superman a la Christopher Reeve) and Ben Affleck did a good job, better than what I’d heard from others anyhow. (Not that either of them need my validation. Heh.)

All in all, I’d say that despite the story problems, it’s a movie worth seeing even if you wait for the dvd. You probably should see it on the big screen if only for the special effects, which were really cool. This is not, in case you missed it, a movie for the 10 years old and under crowd. Do Not Bring Small Freakin’ Children. Seriously. Just don’t. It’s not quite as bad a decision as bringing a small child to Deadpool, but it’s up there.

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About Nancy M. Griffis

Author and screenwriter who loves scifi/action/adventure/urban fantasy genres. I have two published novels, Mind Games and Eternal Investigations, as well as a short story published for charity called "Home Fires Burning." All are available through amazon.com and barnesandnobles.com.

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Nancy at the Tim Burton exhibit in L.A.

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