Ben Affleck Shines As Batman In A Brutally Messy Film
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a fan of Zack Snyder's dark superhero universe. I didn't particularly enjoy Man of Steel (even though I was quite excited to see it initially), and once again going into BVS excitedly, I was let down all over again. Not only let down, I hated it. Exiting the film screening with a group of friends I was audibly upset and annoyed by what I had just seen. Needless to say, I avoided revisiting it all these years until now. And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure why I even wanted to revisit it. I think it's mainly because I'm going through a Batman phase at the moment, and just wanted to see if my perception had changed any since watching it 4 years ago at the cinema.
To put it frankly, the answer is no. The film is a giant muddled mess. It's too overly dramatic and depressing. Everyone is constantly pouting. It's way too long for it's own good. This time around I decided to go with the Directors Cut, thinking maybe that would change my mind, but it didn't. If anything, it made things worse. It's a convoluted and an incredibly and overly complicated mess with so many storylines going on that I honestly couldn't tell you what it was even about. At least a good half hour could have been cut and it wouldn't have affected a damn thing because when a movie is so damn nihilistic, dour and full constant dread, the over 3 hour runtime feels more like 6 hours. I felt like it would never end. It took me 3 sittings just to get through it. Did we really need another Batman origin story? And let's just get to the main issue that everyone, including myself, complained about right from the beginning. For a film that's called Batman Versus Superman, and for a film that is literally over 3 hours long, Bat's and Supe's maybe fight for a total of 20 minutes??? I might as well throw in there that I was not a fan of Jesse Eisenberg's whiny, bratty, childish Lex Luther. You could have cast a moody puberty-stricken 13 year old and gotten the same results.
It's not a total loss though. Wonder Woman steals the show in every scene she's in. And goddamn what an epic fucking entrance. Perfect. Just perfect. But for me personally it's all about Batman here. I'm just going to say it. Ben Affleck is the BEST Batman to hit the screen since Michael Keaton. Of course I know not everyone will agree and not everyone even likes Keaton for that matter, but man I just loved what Affleck did with the character here. I loved the older take on Wayne, the salt and pepper hair, the bigger, broader physique, the always-present stubble, the lower measured voice, and most of all, I loved the Batsuit, one of several homages to Frank Miller's genre-defining The Dark Knight Returns. I admired that they didn't try to go the more realistic "tactical" approach to the design the way Christopher Nolan's films did with the suit (which also seems to be what Matt Reeves is doing with his new Batman film, for better or worse). Here it looks like something you'd see in a comic book, but still distinctly all it's own. While not 100% copying Miller's design, it's close enough to see the inspiration.
Every moment Batman or Bruce was on screen, the film was good. Even the much-discussed and dissected "dream sequence" was brilliant, even if it didn't make any sense. It just looked fucking cool. Batman played such a large role in this, even though technically it is a sequel to Man of Steel if I remember correctly, that I couldn't help but feel that if they just took every scene that he was in, they could easily have made a standalone Batman film, because I have to admit that while I was no fan of Snyder's work in the directors chair here, I feel he did make Batman look badass, and I think a sliced-together cut of Batmans scenes here would make a dark, brutal and gritty Batman film with Ben Affleck shining as the caped crusader. But that's just my opinion.
Now off to finally check out Justice League....