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BATMAN VS SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

Newcomer Ben Affleck steps up to the BAT while two-timer Henry Cavill merely stands around looking SUPER
Lots to say here, so let's start out with the inevitable first question: "Did Ben Affleck pull off a decent Batman?" Well the opening credit sequence, going back to where his mother and father are slain walking out of a theater, this particular BATMAN, well, BEGINS all over again, with a new actor who, instead of hissing his lines (ala Nolan trio), seems to have a voice-box that sounds like the SCREAM prank caller doing a lighter yet still intimidating rendition of Orson Welles...

Ben Affleck
And that question hasn't been answered, yet, so here goes: Ben's performance, while not perfect and encumbered with too many trick-dream sequences, is much better than the movie itself. And as for fleshing-out his character, he doesn't have to work very hard to be billionaire Bruce Wayne, who, at this point, from Michael Keaton to Christian Bale, has his entire story... that is, where and how he lives and what vehicles he rips around in when needed... beyond-covered as the faithfully strategic servant, Alfred, Jeremy Irons, does a lazy Michael Caine imitation, actually looking more like Gary Oldman's Lt. Gordon in a stiff Butler suit...

Henry Cavill
Basically, what Affleck does for BATMAN VS SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is just a tad more than Henry "Mannequin" Cavill going through his slow motions as Clark Kent/Superman who, since he doesn't take half the time desperately hiding his identity like the one and only Christopher Reeve, which basically meant some great acting was needed to cover the farfetched premise back then (involving the spectacles being a successful mask), there's no reason for Cavill to wield much energy at all: And yes, the fellas have a woman to contend with now. No, not the usually Alpha Female Amy Adams as an ultimately vulnerable, whining starlet, Lois Lane, who, along with Super Mom Martha Kent, are kidnapped in a dull human chess match (we'll cover "the woman" soon) manipulated by the worst cast member on board, who wants more than he needs and what he really needs is to play a different character than the one that made him a star (in THE SOCIAL NETWORK): that being Jesse Eisenberg...

Imagining Woody Allen filling Gene Hackman's shoes in the 1978 Richard Donner classic, SUPERMAN THE MOVIE, playing, of all people, mastermind genius Lex Luther, is actually a hilarious concept. Only Allen would be much funnier than his wannabe neurotic spaz; and Hackman played for laughs more than drama despite being one of the best serious actors around. But herein, the convoluted plot, involving a hyper-active standup routine spouting Lex using a piece of Kryptonite to, at first, pit Batman and The Man of Steel against each other, he then unveils a formidable beast: an ultimate CGI Plan B providing a fight longer than THE QUIET MAN, and much too loud and downright annoying after a really, really long buildup: an excuse for a prolonged action sequence to make up for the otherwise slow parts.

Wonder Woman
Then there's the already teased-at 11th hour ingenue: the one and only Wonder Woman, who, despite looking good, actress Gal Gadot has nothing to do with anything besides introducing herself for her own future installments (and there is a difference between an established, for example, five season TV show character landing a spinoff than a one-shot cameo intended to venture on their own; but we won't tell that to Mork from Ork).

Lex Hipster
Truth be told, the last Zack Snyder Superman venture, MAN OF STEEL, was even worse than this bland vehicle that doesn't only go through the motions, but hardly has any motion at all. Just two superheroes facing each other at the dead of night, hands on hips, ready to strike. And the second biggest question is: How could a mortal like Batman have a chance in hell to fight (hence the "verses") Superman at all?

Kryptonite aside, the superhero battle is really more political than physical. As reactions to false propaganda, Batman thinks an "alien" with powers to save the world could just as easily destroy it (meanwhile, Superman doesn't think much of Batman at all). And hell, maybe it's befitting during this particularly bizarre time for a.... to use the genre-term lightly... Political Thriller. After watching those 15,000 rabid Republican debates with Trump Luther against a dwindling group of doomed FRIDAY THE 13TH style campers, he did acquire a ton of ratings (compared to the few Clinton coronations; one taking place during the Super Bowl to silence her shrill tone, thus letting the Republican's whine, bitch and moan). That could be it: a political showdown in brooding DC Comic form was intended all along. Either way, there are not only a lot more questions than answers, but the questions aren't that interesting to begin with.

Neurotic Jesse & Woody
RATING: *1/2
OTHER STUFF: If memory serves, BVS was originally intended to compete with Marvel's CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR on the same weekend, while both do the same thing: pitting superheroes against each other; perhaps they think Cap isn't intriguing enough on his own, because RDJ always is, and he's the co-star • For youngsters to know, Woody Allen was the original "neurotic guy who whines like a girl and thinks too much about everything," pretty much the catapult to a lot of recently funny dudes that girls love giggling over, including Seth Rogen and... much of the Apatow and Hughes bunch: Woody might not be as cute as Ferris Bueller, but he broke the nervy ground • Orson Welles is mentioned in the first paragraph; he wanted to do more projects than was able, and at one point, was planning (or dreaming) to direct as The Joker with Gregory Peck as BATMAN... almost too cool to imagine! • The nod to Mork from Ork was Robin Williams' breakthrough character on one episode of HAPPY DAYS, related to the difference between a main character getting their own franchise or a cameo: and in Robin's rare case, MORK AND MINDY resulted from a guest-spot on a popular series • In the John Wayne classic THE QUIET MAN, he fights a dude for basically the last half (and/or act) of the movie... but that's Dad's favorite, so one should be careful going down certain Golden Era avenues.
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