Batman Vs. Superman – A Review with Stixen Stones

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Stixen’s Spoiler-Free Review

Do you enjoy grown men fighting like babies? How about badly developed plot lines? Are you a fan of mecha suits so clunky that they give you a headache? And underdeveloped and underrated female characters? Then this movie is perfect for you!

Beware! Spoilers lurk below this point.

Also some language, because whether you love this film or hate it, it’s hard to review without expletives.

So, going into BVS, I had low expectations.

The film met them. I was entranced for the first five minutes – gorgeous cinematography! I was looking forward to a film that pulled on a lot of comics-inspired art shots that spoke through imagery… And then baby Bruce started levitating, and it was all downhill from there.

Stixen: Exactly! The minute lil’ Brucey started floating – part of me quit. But then again, each dream sequence made me quite a bit more. The post apocalyptic Batman dream half through the film caused me to quit entirely. I was not amused.

Yeah, when you hear people next to you muttering, “What the fuck?” and catch them spreading their arms in surrender… it is not a good time.

Stixen: It really isn’t. I really like Zack Snyder’s work in general – like Watchmen – but this one really highlighted all his weaknesses.

It wasn’t the worst superhero film I’ve seen, but it was definitely a case of: “This ought to be four different movies, but we’re going to press them into one and pretend it works.”

Stixen: It was also nothing new. It depended mostly on superhero tropes and, let me just say, it was chalk full of them. I found it exhausting – there are so many great untold superhero stories to tell and yet we’re telling this tired old tale.

Another problem was that it was neither a team film (X-Men, Watchmen, etc.) that STARTS with an introduction to multiple characters who work as different pieces of the same plot. This was caught between an awkward Superman sequel, an introduction to Batman, a rushed explanation of mutual (shakily founded) animosity, and world-building to enable future films.

Stixen: Agreed. It was a strange experience. Both stories were stereotypical versions of every Batman and Superman movie that has ever been made. It was like mixing up a burger and French fries in a blender. Separately – they’re both great. But sludged together like that? It left a bad taste in my mouth.

I think Jeremy Irons was the best part of the movie. I liked his portrayal of Alfred. He was less the gentle, quietly enabling servant and more a snarky uncle figure who just wants Bruce to sit down and make some babies for him to spoil.

Stixen: I still much prefer Michael Caine, but I did enjoy Jeremy Irons. He’s tons of fun and the new paternal angle on Alfred was really refreshing. I really enjoyed him nagging Bruce to go make babies.

Speaking of Bruce – I thought he was a good Batman, although I will always be biased for Christian Bale. My biggest critique had more to do with the script. He was literally still at the “Mama! Mama!” stage, and he surpassed that in the first installment of the last Batman trilogy. It felt… flat.

Stixen: Personally – I thought it made Bruce incredibly unlikable. I couldn’t get on his side. There wasn’t a moment that I enjoyed him. He reminded me a lot of an emo Myspace teen. The angst was very… childish. I don’t think that Ben and was the correct choice.

I would have to agree about the childishness. And I think they could have chosen a better emotional catalyst for him to bond with Superman over.

Stixen: I agree. The fight was so anticlimactic. And the resolving of the fight felt stitched together and messy.

Yeah, the timeline made no sense in the final sequence.

Stixen: So I gotta ask… Team Batman or team Superman?

Team Meh.

Stixen: Fair enough. I grew up with Batman. But this movie had me feeling aggressively #teamsuperman. But then again, Henry Cavil is so roguish and gorgeous, so I might be biased. But THOSE SHOULDERS!

They were quite impressive shoulders. I will give you that.

Stixen: Bless those shoulders. They’re what dreams are made of. Should we discuss the dreaded issue… Wonder Woman?

I suppose we ought to. She was a tiny mass of wasted opportunity.

Stixen: Unfortunately yes. She got the Catwoman treatment. I’m not super familiar with Diana’s character, but what I do know was not at all the woman we saw on screen. She was basically just Catwoman in red. I was very disappointed. The actress did the best she could- but the writing and costuming failed her.

 

Despite a lot of missed opportunities and overly-condensed plot, I did like the fighting style at the end of the film. It was very different from the MCU’s approach to cinematic fight scenes, and this felt very comic-like. I don’t know if it would be interesting in another film, though, since the style is effectively a bunch of badasses taking turns punching a thing.

Stixen: I can agree with that! Other than the eye candy- thank you Lord Gaga for Henry Cavil’s perfection. And of course, Aqua-dork – more like Aqua-DAMN! I think this movie really failed when it comes to its female characters. I was really disappointed in that.

I was extremely disappointed. Literally every single female was a trope. The wise mother whose knowledge was just ambiguous enough to ensure the hero could apply it to the correct situation. The damsel in distress who runs around a lot but accomplishes nothing. The femme fatale. Even the silent, skinny, Asian assistant for the villain. It was less than stellar.

Stixen: So, so true. I kept hoping that one of them would break out. I held high hopes for WW and Lois. But nothing ever came of it. They both came close to breaking that glass ceiling but they never really did.

They bounced right off. What were your thoughts on costumes?

Stixen: The costumes were a big fat flop. Batman’s mecha suit looked clunky and laughable. Wonder Woman was completely wrong from civilian wear to her armor – which I found disappointing. We’ve seen Batman and Superman redesigned a million times and Wonder Woman gets variations of the same foolishness just because bewbz. Overall – it was all pretty unoriginal, boring and frankly, I left unamused. The costume designer better be glad he had Henry Cavil, because that man could look good in anything.

 

Official Heel Rating:

HeelHeel

I give it two heels. One heel is just for Henry cavil’s shoulders though.

M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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