As I often do, I waited until around the second week or so of release, and then I set out to a cinema to sit through the epic big screen superhero slap around of Dawn of Justice. Also, I ended up seeing it in a very (and I do mean very) small old art deco style independent cinema down south. The air-con was not all too obvious, but we all made it through the movie.
So here it was- the first step into the DC comics big screen Justice League franchise, bringing together a number of the most well-known superheroes of all-time. I sat down of course with my memories of the previous Zack Snyder directed Man of Steel movie, and like so many movie and comic fans, the uncomfortable emotional feelings were stirring up inside. All of that OTT almost endless carnage for the last half hour or more of Man of Steel…why? Why so much? for so long? Does Superman really do that kind of thing? There were other questions about the kind of Superman Snyder was giving us, and here we were once again.
This of course is a very long movie, but you know I think I can actually say that it didn’t really seem as long as it actually is. I know-that sound odd, possibly even unbelievable right? Yes, it could still probably help from twenty or thirty minutes cut, but it does work mostly. There are problems with this film. It comes more down to the tone and balance between the kind of films we expect to see Batman in and the the kind we have seen Superman in for the years before this. I think I feel Batman should have been a little closer to the previous Nolan version still, but Affleck is suitable I think, probably better than Bale although we do see more of Bruce Wayne through this film.
As a superhero comicbook movie pulling together a good number of characters for shared screen time, this probably works more successfully than Iron Man2 (although I am one of the very few fans of that film, or someone who admits to liking it still).
As DC try to quickly but successfully follow behind Marvel with their own cinematic hits and blockbuster multi-series films, this was a neccessary film before reaching any kind of modern Justice League movie. Did Snyder really have to squeeze in so many characters? While this is a long movie, you still feel like you do not see enough of all of the them. The one character probably most successfully shown here is Lex Luthor. Very well measured maniacal mannerisms and dialogue from Jessie Eisenberg, give us a new Luthor this time extremely manipulative and quite similar to Ledgers’ Joker.
The other big draw for many people here was also the very first big screen showing of the new Wonder Woman. Gradually through the film, she interacts with Bruce Wayne playfully, before fantastically joining in with the final showdown battle at the end with instant ease and powerfully assured confidence. Now, it does seem like her own first movie will really be something very special when it hits the big screen.
There are some dumb and almost brainless points to this movie-well, Snyder does direct still-but overall I think I can say that it does seem to successfully launch the DC superhero movie franchise after years of trying.
James E.Parsons is author of SF novel Orbital Kin available as paperback/ebook from all good bookstores. New SF novel Minerva Century due soon in 2016.