I’ve been a DC Comics fan for as long as I can remember. Not for any particular reason, really – It’s not like I hate Marvel. But if I could only buy a single comic, and had to choose between Marvel and DC, nine times out of ten it will be DC. It’s best to be honest about these things.
Like any DC fan, when I first heard that DC were taking their first steps into a Cinematic Universe, I was thrilled. When I read that they were building towards a Justice League movie, I could hardly contain my excitement. When I was informed that the first introduction to the Justice League would be in the movie Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Henry Cavill reprising his role as Superman and Ben Affleck playing the part of Batman, my hype-train came to a screaming halt just inside the borders of Fuckthatville.
Ben Affleck as Batman? What the hell were these people thinking??
But as time wore on, and more and more information came to light about the movie, the trailers were shown to the world, and we learnt that Wonder Woman was going to be included, I started to relax. Don’t get me wrong, I still had my doubts, but I thought ‘Ok, maybe they know what they are doing. I really hope Bat-Fleck doesn’t screw this up’.
Batman VS Superman was released last week, on the 23rd of March, so I booked tickets for the wife and I (who didn’t really want to come, but she’s a wonderful person like that) to see it Thursday night. When we left the theatre after two and a half hours, I can safely say that I was wrong.
The movie is amazing.
Now, for those of you who haven’t seen it, and still want to, I’m going to do my best to avoid any major spoilers. But if you don’t want to go into the movie without any real knowledge of it, and haven’t seen any of the other reviews that are currently out there, now may be a good time to stop reading.
So, I’m not going to go into much detail about the plotline of the movie. I mean, it’s titled Batman VS Superman. You can kind of guess where it’s going. The whole thing builds towards these two superhero’s throwing punches at each other, before they band together to take on the real menace and win the day. What really amazes with this movie, and what I really want to talk about, is the way these characters are developed and portrayed, with their fears and doubts and worries played on and amplified until the only choice left to them is to swing away at each other in a fight to end all fights. We see these heros in a world that is more grounded in our reality, with all of the weakness and corruption and rage and hope that is life. Because let me tell you now, these superheros you see on screen are not the hero’s that we have grown up with. And that’s a good thing.
Henry Cavill returns to his role as Superman, aka Clark Kent, after his previous stint as the man in blue in ‘Man of Steel’. A direct continuation of that storyline, we see a Superman that is being hailed as mankind’s saviour; a being from another world, with power’s that make him nigh-indestructible who’s zipping around the world using his powers for the betterment of mankind. All pretty straightforward, inspiring stuff really. But this is also a being that grew up with mortal parents, who loves a mortal woman, and is surrounded on all sides by humanity with all of its thoughts, opinions, greed and corruption. He spends all day in the guise of his alter-ego, as a reporter for the biggest newspaper around, and is confronted daily with the politics that run our mortal world. And you watch as these issues, and opinions, and all the negativity that can come with being the centre of attention in the media start to eat away at all those things that Superman stands for. As the world starts to question if Superman should be viewed as a God above the law, or whether he should be held accountable for the damages his actions are causing, however well-intentioned they may be, it starts to make us wonder. If this being has all of these powers, and can do all of these incredible things…what would he do when the mortals he loves are put in danger? And as we watch, Superman struggles to deal with all of these very human issues, and is finally left with a choice that will destroy him either way. But he still tries to do the right thing, and attempts to solve these issues without injury, without pain.
All of this leads us to the other titular character, Batman. As I stated earlier, Batman is portrayed by a huge, beefy Ben Affleck (Beefleck). You get to see the backstory we have all seen over the years, with Thomas and Martha Wayne dying from the gunshot that propels young Bruce to be the vigilante crime fighter that he was destined to be. But that’s where the similarities to all the previous Batmen really end. This is a Batman that has embraced the basic fundamental of who he is; a symbol born from fear, specifically designed to strike that same fear into the hearts of others. A Batman that will do whatever it takes to strike that fear into his enemies, whatever it takes to win. A Batman that decides that the possibility of Superman going rogue is worth the price he will have to pay to kill him. All this aside, he is still just a normal human, albeit with a genius-level intellect, a handyman butler and impressive hand-to-hand skills. He can’t really start a fight with a person of Superman’s power and expect to win. Not without using his bat-brain to make a rad bat-plan. And so he bat-does. He takes the time to research Superman, his strengths and weaknesses. We see him walk through the upcoming fight and plan to win by hiding items throughout the area to aid him. Meanwhile, we begin to see and understand the fear the lies at the heart of Batman, and how truly mortal he is.
And then we come to the main event, the fight of the century. Superman, a man who stands for hope and justice, is forced to make a choice in which either outcome will mean his end. A being who can literally end the fight before it has begun, is holding back because of the consequences of his decisions. And Batman, a normal man in a fancy suit. A tactical genius, who has planned for this for over a year. A man who, in his mind, is prepared to die to win this fight. A man who can make his opponent vulnerable.
When you look at it like that, whose side would you pick?
Even after all of this, there is so much more that makes this movie amazing. The casting is spot on. The fight scenes are jaw dropping. The little twists you just don’t see coming. the sneak peek of the rest of the Justice League and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. It all just clicks, and comes together into a fantastic movie.
Before you ask, yes, I have seen the critics negative reviews. But I have also seen the overwhelmingly positive reviews from every day movie goers like you and me. We are the ones this movie was made for, us, the fans.
The DC fanboy in me wants to sit here and claim this movie is perfection, but I know that’s not the case. What it is, is more than I expected it to be. And I think that my wife summed this movie up better than I ever could. She is Marvel, through and through, and only came to this movie because I begged and pleaded. We walked out of the movie, and she turned to me and said, quite simply, “I cannot wait to see what happens next”