RISEN (2016) - Review
by Bryan Mero

I saw Batman v Superman:Dawn of Justice last night. It wasn't in a crowded theater with fanboys/fangirls surrounding me. It was more like a private viewing. There were no distractions.

First off let's talk about the biggest controversy of this film, Ben Affleck. Surprisingly, he was one of the best things about this movie. You also see him a lot. Enough to say, that this is more of a Batman movie then and Superman movie. Affleck plays Bruce and Batman brilliantly. It definitely makes me look forward to a stand alone Batman movie that Affleck will be producing and directing. He's mad, he determined, he's a detective and he's on a mission. All is spelled out to us as we move throughout the movie and it works.

Henry Cavill is good as Superman. Nothing really new here. Cavill is a quality actor playing one of the toughest characters in cinema. When things aren't so good in the movie Superman is usually involved. I don't really blame Cavill, I blame the writers. This is the same for Lois Lane and her dialogue. Beyond writing, there were certain scenes where emotion is needed...and what we get instead is almost non-existant. I should have been in tears several times in this movie and had a dry eye throughout.

The Good: The fight scenes between Batman and Superman were incredible. The choreography and seemless CGI was a feast for the eyes. Batman's own fight scenes were just as amazing and rivals all Batman fight scenes in any previous movie. This is a Batman that can move. He is scary at times to both the innocent and the criminal. I'm sure he would have it no other way.

There have been a lot of complaints about how Batman 'kills' or 'murders' people and how that's not how Batman operates. Ok, now everyone just calm down. This sounds a lot like the Superman 'killing Zod' controversy from the last Superman movie. Batman does not walk down the street in his costume and just randomly start killing people. He is protecting himself in most cases. Those that try to kill him take the chance as Batman retaliates. Sometimes it's in the form a car dropping on top of you or using machine guns to shoot back at you. Either way, the life of crime shouldn't had been your career choice if you didn't think there was a chance of your car blowing up in a high speed chase. In this movie, no, it didn't bother me at all. Batman is older and may realize that sometimes you can't make sure every criminal is tied up in a bow for the police to arrive.

The Bad: I was going in with an open mind about Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor character. I'd seen the trailers, wasn't impressed, but thought I'd give him a shot. It didn't last very long. Lex is very annoying in this movie. I was left feeling uncomfortable just watching him try to act through his lines. As if he was trying to put an extra emphasis on Lex Luthor with some kind of Heath Ledger vibe. Needless to say this was unnecessary and distracting. This wasn't a Lex Luthor that I recognized in any way shape or form. Lex was a genius in the comics and other movies. This Lex Luthor inherited his daddy's company and now has a god-complex. No, that's not the Lex Luthor we were looking for.

There are so many other things I can get into but not without spoilers. My overall impression of the movie? I walked in with low-expectations and walked out thinking it was better then the dumpster fire I expected. There were many things I enjoyed and then equally bad scenes that made me shake my head. I think there are plenty of people who will really like this movie...those that are familiar with both characters but may not be fanboys or fangirls. They don't know any better. It's the followers of the comics that might have the biggest issues with this movie as it takes four different comic book stories and throws them altogether into one movie. Too much? I would say yes. I would rather focus on just B v S then Lex and his plans...which again, if this were a spoiler review, I'd be all over his shortsighted plans.

As you can see this is a mix of opinion, emotion and reaction for this movie. All I can really do is recommend you go see it. There are enough good things in this movie to just tip the scales. Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. I feel there more redeeming qualities of this movie then there are bad ones. Plus, a lot of people have already seen this movie and if you don't, you'll either have the plot spoiled or you won't be able to give your opinion on who really is the winner or loser. My last complaint are the nods to the next movie 'Justice League' also by Zack Snyder. Most of the references took me out of the movie that was flowing quite well at times and stopped it so it could show off who else we might see next time we go to the movies. I didn't need it. Sometimes the most enticing things are those teased about but not seen. That really sums up this movie as a whole.

After being able to chew on this movie for some time, I still have most of the same opinion. I do realize that Batman has changed since the events of Superman's battle vs Zod. That sent him on a dark path where killing is just an afterthought. If they die, they die attitude. That is what Alfred was warning him about in the beginning. Alfred didn't like what he had become and eventually neither does Batman as he stops his assault on Superman to realize they really are on the same team. Even if it is with a corny "You mom's name is Martha? So's mine!" moment.

I still have issue with the fantastical email that holds the finished icons of the potential new Super Friends and videos that run perfectly with each click...couldn't they buffer just a little like every YouTube video in history? Either way it was totally unnecessary and I would have rather seen more dialogue between our two heroes, Wonder Woman or setting up Johnny Olsen, Lois' apartment, etc. Scenes over substance is how this movie seemed to play out. Some great looking scenes that were empty of story, dialogue, emotion, you name it...it didn't have it. Like biting into a sandwich with no meat.

I admit I still have not seen the 3hr version of the film. Maybe most of my complaints fade away and I have to post an apology review...maybe. The new trailer for Justice League has much more humor and fun. Will it be good? We will have to wait and see. I'm sure we'll be talking about the BvS for years to come. Maybe it will be get better with age.


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