Batman v Superman: Jesse Eisenberg’s Turd Luthor almost destroys film

Batman v Superman

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has arrived. Fans finally get to see the two titans of D.C. Comics square up against on another while simultaneously setting up numerous other movies. Was it good? Was it bad? Does the “Sad Affleck” viral video convey what millions of moviegoers will feel by the end of the weekend? I think that the one thing people will remember 10 years from now about the film is just how big of a turd Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor turned out to be in the D.C. Punch Bowl, but I will try and lay out what worked and what didn’t in bullet points below.

First off, it should be reiterated once again that director Zack Snyder knows how to make a movie look cool. There are scenes that are incredibly gorgeous and he seems to have a great gut instinct for the shots fans want to see — probably because he is a fan. His problem, however, comes from the writing side of the equation. It is glaringly obvious that someone mandated all sorts of things that should have never been in the movie, in part because Hollywood producers have a penchant for being idiots. The script paid the price.

The plot of the movie is fairly straight forward and essentially told in the trailer. Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne both view Superman’s existence on earth a threat to humanity and both pursue a monomaniacal quest to end his life.

Superman struggles with the role he plays living among humans and then a studio-mandated monster is shoehorned into the finale because needlessly spending lots of money somehow translates as “good” to executives in Hollywood (One would think they would learn a thing or two from X-men Origins: Wolverine, but no!) The credits roll and then everyone wonders if there will be an extra scene at the end because that’s what Marvel does. The end.

The question — Is it good? — still remains. First, let us acknowledge what worked:

  • Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne and Batman. He put in the time required to succeed, and it showed.
  • Henry Cavill did a fine job as Clark Kent and Superman, even if he took a back seat in what was initially supposed to be his movie.
  • Jeremy Irons makes an excellent Alfred.
  • The fight scenes are exactly what you would expect from the guy who knocked it out of the park with 300

Now, let us cover what did not work:

  • Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is an embarrassment. The entire film is dark and gritty and then he plays Luthor like he drew inspiration from Jim Carrey’s Riddler from Batman Forever (another Warner Bros. movie that suffered because it had too much going on, among its many other problems). Worse, the ominous music that plays when he’s on screen — juxtaposed with his goofy performance — reminded me of the “Large Marge” scene from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Any scene with Eisenberg that was supposed to be dramatic was not because he wasn’t believable as a Superman-worthy villain.
  • The movie was disjointed. Luthor should have been a serious businessman and there was absolutely no need for him to create Doomsday. The way it all unfolded was cringeworthy, which again begs the question: Was it Synder’s fault or studio-mandated? I will give Synder the benefit of the doubt since he stuck to his guns on Watchmen and wisely changed the ending for its film adaptation.
  • Batman v Superman was too long. There was a good 30 minutes that could have been cut from the film if they weren’t trying so hard to set up Justice League.

Jesse Eisenberg

In short, Batman v Superman is the classic case of “What might have been.” Parts of it are good. Parts of it are excellent. Unfortunately, some of it is just bad. In fact, just looking at Jesse Eisenberg’s face right now makes me shake my head in disgust. It’s not as bad as the time he likened San Diego Comic Con to “genocide” (yes, seriously), but it’s pretty bad.

I recommend seeing Batman v Superman to long-time fans because the impossible was made possible. For a kid who grew up in the 80s, I cannot help but feel as though this generation is spoiled rotten when it comes to cinematic superhero fare. See the film, but know that you will also walk away frustrated at the wasted potential.

It wasn’t your fault this time, Ben. Really. It wasn’t.

Editor’s Note: Check out Hube’s take over at The Colossus of Rhodey.

‘Batman v Superman’ trailer: Zack Snyder goes were Marvel Studios fears to tread

Batman v Superman 911The Batman v Superman trailer is out, and one thing is obvious: Zack Synder is going with a level of realism that Marvel Studios has shown no desire to duplicate. Anyone who lived through the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will not be able to see Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne engulfed in dust and debris without thinking of that day. If they decide to accept the director’s decision, then they can appreciate what the visual does for the story — while everyone else sprints away from the carnage, Bruce Wayne hurls himself head first into the chaos. That is the kind of bravery (bordering on psychosis) a man would need for him to seriously attempt to challenge Superman.

Batman v Superman flyThere are plenty of valid criticisms that could be made of Mr. Synder’s DC Universe, but it is hard to deny that his Superman exudes raw power. When he is on the screen, he demands respect. The argument that his costume is dated and cheesy just doesn’t fly (no pun intended), because if you can be led to believe that a character possesses the power to exterminate the entire human race, then you will respect him in almost any outfit.

Batman v Superman desertThe strength Superman wields is what will (understandably) cause Bruce Wayne to fear the alien and, at least for a portion of the film, seek to destroy him.

Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor telegraphs exactly what “Batman versus Superman” is about:

“Black and blue. God versus man. Day versus night.”

If a man had the power of a god — but he wasn’t God — wouldn’t he have to be destroyed? The same question would, of course, apply to a … Wonder Woman.

Batman v Superman Wonder WomanMarvel Studios has a track record of making great movies, but for the most part it has shied away from the level of realism embraced by Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and Zack Synder’s “Man of Steel.” Both kinds of movies can happily exist in the summertime blockbuster market, but Marvel’s problem is that there are only so many times the world can be demolished in a shared cinematic universe before the cotton candy-ish tone seems weird. Perhaps Marvel Studio’s “Civil War” will finally address that problem, but as of now DC has the pole position on superhero fare that makes an audience think about real-world issues.

If you plan on seeing “Batman v Superman,” then let me know what you think about the trailer or anything else related to the movie in the comments section below.

Ben Affleck’s outspoken politics hurt his Batman more than his box office bombs

Warner Bros. needed someone who could take on Superman. Correction: Warner Bros. needed someone who could theoretically beat Superman. They decided that man was … Ben Affleck.

Ben Affleck has been cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Zack Snyder’s still untitled Superman/Batman sequel to this past summer’s Man of Steel. The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015. …

In the announcement, Silverman stated, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”

Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

There is no getting around how utterly weird this decision is. However, there is also no getting around how awesome ‘Man of Steel’ was.

Fact: Zack Snyder knows what he is doing. ‘300’ was awesome. ‘Watchmen’ is severely underrated. ‘Man of Steel’ reinvigorated Superman. If he thinks he can make it work with Ben Affleck as Batman, then he’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Fans owe it to him to try their best to withhold judgement and give Affleck a shot.

Here are a few things to help you view the glass as half full:

  • Zack Synder gives his actors the Gym Jones treatment: Ben Affleck will be in shape when it’s time to film. Batman shape. “Holy-crap-is-that-Ben-Affleck?” shape.
  • ‘Chasing Amy’: Ben Affleck showed us he could do a relatively decent job at “tortured soul” when he played Holden in 1997’s Chasing Amy. Sure, his range is limited, but if Snyder can tap into his strengths and minimize his weaknesses then we might just have a decent Batman on our hands.
  • Fan backlash: In a weird way, Affleck will probably use all the anger directed his way as motivation to knock it out of the park.

People keep mentioning Daredevil as proof that Affleck can’t hack it as Batman, but a.) it’s not nearly as bad as people make it out to be and b.) Zack Synder is not Mark Steven Johnson.

In truth, I think the thing that hurts Ben Affleck the most is his political activism. How many people will look at him and think, “This Batman told me John Kerry should have been president in a post 9/11 world and that John Edwards was a trustworthy guy,” — or some other reaction based on his political talk show appearances?

Ben Affleck John Kerry

How can moviegoers see Affleck as a blank slate going into the theater when they’ve had to put up with his activism for years?

John Kerry Space

In this past presidential election Mr. Affleck was more muted, saying his feelings for the president were “complicated.” (i.e., I got duped in 2008 and don’t want to admit it.) However, from now until July 17, 2015, how many times will he lecture the American people on climate change, taxes, immigration or a whole host of public policy issues? Even his wife believes he’ll be running for office in the not-too-distant future. If I were a betting man, I’d say that Mr. Affleck will continue saying and doing things in public that will make it harder for roughly half the nation to lose themselves in his version of “Batman” on opening night. In that sense, Warner Bros. made an unwise decision.

In short, if Ben Affleck can keep a low profile from now until July 17, 2015, it will actually work to his advantage. People want to see whether he sinks or swims and the right teasers will heighten that interest even more. If Ben Affleck can keep from alienating people with political rhetoric, there’s a good chance that Synder will come through in the clutch. The key is for fans to do the right thing and try to walk into the theater with an open mind.