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Ultimately, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice BvS is a breath of fresh air, un-bubbly like the well loved Marvel titles but moralistically gray and philosophically deep. Dark but real, the idealism of the Kansas boy who was nurtured by parents and the pragmatist views of Batman shaped by his life tragedies and his exhausted spirit through the rinse and repeat years of fighting criminals like the weeds they are. Clearly for mature old school comic book fans. Don't listen to critics. It's easy to love the MCU (except Ghost Rider and Elektra) because of the time-tested box-office script writing formula they have (seriously, I think they already patented it), but this film requires you to be exposed to DC material (print, animation, live action) for at least 5 to 25 years before appreciating the intricacies and subtleties of its rich gradients in the choices people make. Far more relatable to real society and life. Civil War will be an interesting project for Marvel, they'll start tackling more gray ideologies via film format soon enough.
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It's unfortunate BvS Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was raked in the face by film critics cruelly; they who have seemingly been brainwashed by the formulaic "down to earth" cinematic heroes that Disney-Marvel has been able to pump out through the years. To be fair, Disney has indeed found the magic formula to keeping its streak of box office hits as long as it has. The thing is, these reviews on BvS, are exaggeratedly critical on source material that offer a different take on superhero storytelling.
Let's be clear about one thing, Marvel heroes often come from a more familiar place, grounded and home-like even, that instantaneously allows them to connect to viewers on perspectives in micro-life struggles that continuously expand as the plot unfolds (think back on the solo hero films turning into The Avengers and then Infinity War). DC, meanwhile, builds on larger-than-life characters with usually unrelateable life backgrounds and possess inner struggles, decisions, and philosophical outlooks representing the microcosm of humanity's socio-political nature among other deeper topics that a layman would not casually give attention to, this then is intricately zoomed in to the ground level drama that develops as the confluential randomness of events in the Universe for everyone else unfolds.
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To prime one's self up prior to watching, Marvel viewers should already expect that they're going to watch an Action-Comedy genre flick with sprinkles of humanistic and grounded drama, DC viewers, on the other hand, should already put in their minds that they're going to watch an Action-Drama with sprinkles of comedic moments (albeit unnecessary). Recalibrating the expectations spares most viewers from the shock and disappointment that they didn't see the storytelling formula they expected from the other company and vice-versa.
On account of the actors, much apprehension has been put out online by cynical "fans" even prior to the production especially for Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot not fitting their parts. Surprise, surprise, it seems like they were the saving grace to Jesse Eisenberg's poor and underwhelming portrayal of Lex Luthor, one of DC's most reviled yet fascinating egos of villainy. Ben Affleck's Batman, a seasoned vigilante, worn down by years of physical exertion, mental anguish, and creeping disillusionment of humanity's capability to build a nobler society, has developed into a more realistic crime fighter. There's a certain point or age in any man's life that he realizes that time isn't on his side and the world moves on no matter how much you've poured into the bucket. And indeed you look for meaning in the opportunities you come across, that may make a difference. As for Gal Gadot, first of all, thank God it wasn't Ronda Rousey. Gadot at the very least looks the part and she gives a decent if not very good Wonder Woman on screen. She's built up lean muscle too for this role, very realistic considering she's running a crew with Superman and Batman, who are pretty athletic themselves.
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As for the supporting cast, they were their usual selves (from the Superman franchise's side). Jeremy Irons comes in as the new Alfred and he's playing the critical mentor as what most Alfreds have been for Batman through recent years (compared to the snarky complying version). There were scenes that it felt like Bruce was asking for permission and justifying his thought process to Alfred. It's hard to keep to yourself after years of battling murderous crazies and there's no doubt Alfred remains the constant confidant that Bruce counts on the most, even when handling his equipment (no Fox here).
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Without even spoiling it for those sitting on the fence, the film was great. It's drama and action, and drama. It's hard to deny the general atmosphere and tone of the film was dark and brooding, but it's precisely the tone of despair you expect given the things heroes have to sacrifice to face the cruel world (and Universe). Just try turning on your TV and tuning in to CNN and other major global news networks. There is darkness in the world and the common man may simply choose to cover these up with sugary isolationist choices and conscious ignorance to live their personal lives in a bubble of peace, but struggles in the world and in local societies are unending and are real. Life is hard. Making consequential choices is hard, it's not like just choosing what burger to buy.
As for the "messy" editing for the first part on how the build up to their showdown was done, the pacing, in my view, was inevitable. The personal lives of these two major heroes were being shown in parallel to each other, mostly to reveal their thoughts and emotions on why they would even decide to do so if subjected to the correct stimuli. It's hard to tell one story first and then the other without risking the possibility that the audience may overlook certain plot points as the storytelling unfolded. Just ride the pony and remember that the pacing swings between Supes' and Batsy's and you'll be fine. I heard this is called mental multitasking. Spoonfeeding is so 3-years old.
PS. Okay, except Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor, we're all used to the masculine villain man-boss he has always been portrayed in the animated titles. He was a sniveling, overly-dramatic twerp here. My girlfriend says it's probably an homage to the comicky way Gene Hackman did his Luthor. To be fair, Kevin Spacey's didn't impress a lot then either, but it makes you wonder if his Frank Underwood on House of Cards would've been the evolved form of Luthor if they continued with him years ago. Maybe Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor will bulk up in prison and be more serious and darker. I'm looking forward to the DCCU.
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