Batman’s got the best lines, but Superman’s still got the best hair product.
Having been a film buff all my life and appreciative in general of the movie-watching experience, I can assuredly put down the 10 am show of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice on Good Friday 2016 as one of the most enjoyable in recent times. Yes, it’s a blockbuster franchise and yes, it’s a three-day weekend, yes also that competition is practically zero at the box-office right now. That does not always ensure, however, that in any given show out of the few daily dozen, it will be a full house. Well, it was, to the beginning of my pleasant surprise. Full of teenagers, comic-addicts, so-called nerds and even a kid chaperoned by his big brother, who sat behind me and behaved himself very well, except to push my seat every now and then, which I forgave him.
The film, you ask? Lots of violence, punches, explosions, pretensions of finality… I mean, you watch a fight and you think this must be it; it can’t get tougher, but there are many more to follow. Just as the trailer may have sounded as if the face-off between Batman and Superman would be the ultimate, but no prizes for guessing it is just the ‘dawn’: worse guys are coming, so let’s bring together the good ones – like the Avengers are doing.
I was sceptical about Ben Affleck; Christian Bale has been rather awesome, I think. Even during this movie, I kept thinking of the valet complimenting him on his car when he arrives at a party and his cool reply: “You should see my other car.” But then, after Gone Girl, I knew Ben Affleck is not an actor I should feel hopeless about. With glimpses of grey in his hair (the best hair product was going to the other, remember?), and a wooden scepticism pasted on his face, only to give way to a ‘You’re making me really angry now’ frown, I think he has done quite a decent job.
And he has really got the best lines. On my second watch of Dark Knight Rises, in the brilliant climax where Bruce Wayne nods to Alfred and they exchange a smile such as none other, someone from the audience shouted, “Awesome!” and I mentally seconded it. I am very amused, if not pleased, by such spontaneous exclamations and ovations from a rapt audience. During this show, there were quite a few of them. “Tell me, do you bleed?” “I’m a friend of your son.” “I’d rather do the breaking in person.” The ageing sceptic’s got them.
He has also got a hood, which Superman doesn’t. Yet hardly a hair out of place no matter the scale of the mayhem. Is it a Kryptonian thing?
Then there are the other lines. No, not just the dubious grammar, like “on my world” or “unkillable”. I mean the oh-so-typical ********isms. Shit all over the place. Make a show of cleaning it. Claim to save the world. Question your own heroes. Repeat. Someone said, “The American conscience is dead.” Is that supposed to be ironic, I wonder.
Talking of *s, I see that ‘damn’s are also censored nowadays, though letter by letter, so that one may be sure that *** ** * ***** must be ‘son of a _____’. Seemed to me a bit like the statutory warnings against smoking in a scene where weapons of mass destruction are also being hurled. ‘Cause, you know, smoking kills and cussing’s bad, but tremendous violence – that’s harmless entertainment.
Two more things. I did not foresee saying this before watching the movie, but in places, it can be a pro-feminist’s joy. Too bad superheroines still have a really low budget for costume so that their dresses have to be super-skimpy, but man is it good to see a woman kick arse! After Ilsa Faust saving Ethan Hunt and even Ms Chopra doing her humbler bit as the honest cop in the unfortunately forgettable Jai Gangaajal, it was a very very good surprise to see a woman save Batman and Superman’s skin.
“Is she with you?”
“I thought she was with you.”
She is not with any of the men, you see? She’s on her own.
The ending’s reminiscent of Inception. Although, here you can go ahead and make a really good guess at the answer. Still, so good was the timing of the cut that I stopped on my way to the exit to see if there are any further surprises in store once the credit roll is over. Apparently, the rest of the audience was also struck by the same thought, or at least half of them were, and they made the other half wait as well, so that for the first time in quite some time, almost the whole house watched the end credits for a good few minutes, just to see if there’s a postscript.
I won’t spoil that surprise.
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