What a difference three years makes.
Back in 2013, though I lamented the notion of rebooting a darker Superman, I was impressed with Henry Cavill’s “Man of Steel” and looked forward to a sequel and the long game of assembling the “Justice League,” DC Comics’ answer toMarvel’s “The Avengers.”
Fifty-five superhero films later (well, it seems like 55 of them, anyway) I have come down with a bad case of superhero fatigue and I walked into “Yawn,” I mean “Dawn … of Justice” thinking that if I never see another savior in Spandex it’ll be too soon. Unfortunately, I walked out thinking the same thing.
Right off the top, “Batman v Superman?” What could these legendary good guys possibly be fighting over? The remote?
Turns out things are grittier in real life. For years, apparently, Batman has blamed Superman for the casualties of the Man of Steel’s last battle with General Zod. Generally this carnage is considered collateral damage (refer to the 1954 ruling in “People of Tokyo, et. al. v. Godzilla”) but since the 2004 Pixar film “The Incredibles,” courts have been more open to the “thanks for saving our city but did you have to break through my wall to do it?” complaint.
So, yeah, Batman has a legitimate gripe, as does Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, who is totally unsuited for the role by the way). Like “Man of Steel,” this one has strong messianic overtures. Luthor fears that an all-powerful being can just as easily turn evil and sets-out to eliminate the inevitable threat to humanity by creating a preposterous monster incarnation of Zod. (It’s almost as if producers learned nothing from “Spider-Man 3’s” ridiculous Sandman.)
Ben Affleck does a solid job rocking the cowl of the Caped Crusader and Amy Adams returns as Lois Lane. It also introduces Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) who’ll have a larger role in next year’s eponymous adventure as well as the ensemble “Justice League Part One,” that is, if this one’s poor reviews don’t sink it first.
From “300” director and Green Bay native Zack Snyder.
Little to like here, though comic fans may have a higher tolerance.
Other super-matchups, my take
When you run out of epic team-ups you turn to wicked match-ups. “Batman v Superman” is only the opening bout on the cinematic ticket. Imagine these others:
Iron Man v Aquaman. I give the first few rounds to Iron Man but as the salt water accelerates his corrosion he’ll fail to go the distance. Maybe things would be different if his name was Stainless Steel Man?
Underdog v Michael Vick. Since 2007, Shoeshine Boy’s been foaming at the mouth to get at the disgraced quarterback and I think his resolve will finally bury Vick. Literally. He’ll rip out the NFLer’s femur and bury it.
Stretch Armstrong v Mrs. Incredible. Not everything has to be violent. The pair could enter a yoga competition, in which case it would be a draw. Achieving inner peace, neither would be bent out of shape. Rimshot!
Goofus v Gallant. Be honest, you secretly hated Highlights’ goody-goody poster boy and waited your whole life for this match-up. But who would win? Well, let’s see, one would punch below the belt, spit, kick and probably hide a horseshoe in his glove. The other would comb his hair between rounds.
Superman v Chuck Norris. Trick question. It already happened on a bet, loser had to wear underwear on the outside of his pants.