Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Batman v Superman & Justice League Trailer - Why so disappointing?

So last weekend I finally sat down and watched Batman v Superman.

While I didn't dislike the movie as much as the horrible reviews suggest (27% on Rottentomatoes), I didn't love it.  I maybe would have given it around a 50%-ish rating.

After watching it, I was trying to think up why I didn't like it that much.   There are some obvious reasons that I think most people have.  The introduction of Wonder Woman, Batman, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday was just too much for one movie.  (Blah blah, should have done it like Marvel by having Wonder Woman and Batman Movie first, blah blah).

But eventually, I realized it was something more subtle ....


The portrayal of the characters in the movie don't meet my impression of the characters in the comics.

Batman to me is supposed to be the world's greatest detective.  Getting "tricked" by Lex Luthor into fighting Superman just doesn't seem like what would happen to Batman.  In fact, wouldn't Batman have figured out Superman's identity by now?  After all, if Lex Luthor could, couldn't he?

After the bombing in Washington D.C., wouldn't Batman investigate further to see what actually happened so he knows Superman didn't cause anything?  Going out of his way to just want to fight Superman just because seems very unlike Batman.

Another thing that bothered me was Bruce Wayne's somewhat "friendliness" and "sense of humor" in the movie.  In the comics and DC animated universe, I always considered Bruce Wayne/Batman to be an untrusting loner who is somewhat distant compared to other members of the Justice League.  In the Justice League Animated series, he bluntly says he's "not a people person" when the Justice League is being formed.  There are other indications in the comics and other animated films where this seems to be the case (The Dark Knight comic comes to mind, as does the Justice League: War animated film, and the recent Dark Knight Rises, and probably many others).

However, in Batman v Superman, Bruce Wayne wants to go out of his way to form the Justice League after Superman dies (and furthers shows it in the Justice League trailer).  He also cracks some jokes here and there (and in the trailer too!) that just seem out of character for Batman.  When Wonder Woman arrives to fight Doomsday, Batman knows exactly who this is and why she is there.  Saying, "I thought she was with you" seems very out of character.  A much better line would have been something like "Clark Kent, meet Wonder Woman", in which Batman has clearly already figured out Superman's identity.  Superman would act a bit surprised that Batman already figured it out, which is a totally befitting Batman.

Now that I've seen how they decided to portray Bruce Wayne/Batman in this film, it makes sense to me why they would cast Ben Affleck as Batman.  He actually plays the part pretty well.  It's the portrayal that IMO doesn't map to Batman.  A completely different Batman portrayal would have led to a different casting choice.

As a complete aside, there's one moment in the Doomsday fight I love where Batman leaps onto a building of some sort but escapes a punch/attack from Doomsday by leaping away quickly.  That is wonderful and gives a "super human agility" kind of feel to Batman that he can even fight Doomsday to some extent.  They could have done more of that.

Jeremy Iron's portrayal of Alfred also didn't seem quite right either, compared to Alfred in the comics, animated shows, or even in movies (such as Michael Caine's portrayal).  He almost seemed to portray a sidekick of sorts to Bruce Wayne, helping him in the Batcave and taking on a Barabara Gordon/Oracle like role.  It just seemed out of place for him.

I will say that the portrayals of Lex Luthor (minus the hair) and Wonder Woman (albeit limited) were pretty good. 

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