“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”: Movie Review

Considered as Failure.

This might sounds like I’m beating a dead horse because let’s face it. “Batman v Superman” was universally panned by critics (Whopping 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and scored a massive 69% drop in box office in a week suggesting that while the initial interest was high, the word-of-mouth are well, could be better. And probably for a good reason too.

Batman v Superman Movie Poster

I’m not going to write what was wrong with the movie. The professionals are already gnawed at it, accentuated it to a point where my own voice would just another similar note playing way back in the background. Instead, I’m going to write about what I really like from the movie, and why I don’t mind for Zack Snyder to helm the next incarnation of DC’s superhero films

Cautiously Optimistic.

When they first announce this project, my initial thought was “okay, I’m intrigued, but I’m going to set my expectation low.” Because if you are going to collide two of the biggest superheroes in a film, there would be so many things that could go wrong. Added to that, the film was expected to be a setup for a much bigger Justice League. So yeah, so many things that could go wrong, plus possibly too many materials about to be crammed into a preferably under three hours of telling time with an additional requirements of both satisfying to the audiences who are well-versed in DC history, and not too confusing for those who didn’t. The stars had to be aligned in a very specific way in order to put all these together into a solid entertainment that could please both the critics and the general audiences.

Turns out, however, perhaps due to my low expectations, I found myself quite happy with the movie.

Convoluted, Messy Storyline and Plot.

The movie begins with a montage of Batman’s childhood, yet again. I was trying hard not to squirm and telling myself that you know, maybe Snyder would give it a slow-mo action that could at least half as good as Watchmen’s opening scene. I was right about the slow-mo action, I was wrong about it could be half as good as Watchmen’s. Suffice to say that I was very uncomfortable with it.

But then, the Metropolis scene starts, and I enjoyed this part a lot. This scene puts Bruce Wayne on the city that was literally destroyed when Superman takes on Zod during “Man of Steel.” This puny human, — a well trained, not to mention, filthy rich, but still, a mere human — runs around the city that gradually turns into a pile of destruction, trying to warn/save his employees, is an exciting piece of action. This scene, to my eyes, at least easily justified the reason why Batman got so mad at Superman.

But alas, after this scene, the expected mess starts. Scenes come and go in a hurry. Some scenes are somewhat there for the sake of being “cool.” Case in point, the Nightmare Batman scene. This scene is absolutely bonkers. In a world that was reduced to rubble and dust, Batman with his bulky, dirty, but awesome suit, doing a coreographed fight which at this point of the film, a very refreshing scene. The way the film treat this scene, however, indicates nothing about its supposed importance. Bruce Wayne didn’t even seem to be bothered with it, this scene almost felt like a fan service. It’s like saying, “hey, we have this totally cool scene. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it would be a same to cut it, so yeah, we …mmm… create a dream sequence to include this scene. Huh? What? Lazy? Yeah, maybe, but, it’s cool, it’s Batman doing stuffs. You’ll like it. Promise.” I do like it, I really like it. But also a bit disappointed.

The scenes rambling on, until Wonder Woman scene.

The Princess.

Wonder Woman’s entry scene is arguably the best scene of the whole film. Hands down. Few could take away the fact that at least Snyder, gets Wonder Woman right. It has an amazing soundtrack. Her bracelets, her shield, her sword, and her lasso, all are making a good lasting impression, and the way she moves, the way she fights, the way she smirks after she received her first blow from Doomsday, I didn’t know any better but those are all marks of the Warrior that she is. I have a huge crush on Gal Gadot ever since “Fast Furious” (so huge that I came to HATE that Asian dude who gets to kiss her on screen. Ugh), and her role in this film further cemented that affection. I would get her figurines, put up her posters, adorning my computer’s wallpaper with her (as a Wonder Woman) if I was a teenager still experimenting with his sexual desires.

Also, last but not least, I was interested in how Snyder handles Batman. Oh, it is clear. Batman clearly violates his number one principle in this film. An act that sends enough ripple among Batman fans that Snyder himself, felt the need to explicitly explain the decision. I was, however, simply amused, I want to be surprised, and the Batman’s treatment was clearly qualified as a surprise (I was like, “Oh, okay, that is interesting”). But I don’t feel like it was out of place. I mean, in fact, I think it was necessary because later, as Batman goes into his second choreographed fight scene in the film (which is even more awesome than the first), it clearly shows that Batman, is currently live in a dangerous world. Unlike Superman, he can be hurt (and killed) by a stab of steel into his artery, or a bullet. And therefore his violation to his rule in this film, I think, is not a luxury that he could live without, but it has become a necessity.

Conclusion. Flawed but Enjoyable.

Final word, despite its many flaws, “Batman v Superman” boils into a film about three characters. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. I liked how Snyder portrays Batman here, I got super excited with Wonder Woman’s treatment here, so that is two out of three. Which is good. Superman? Well, many had said that Snyder didn’t understand Superman. I personally don’t care about Superman. I had the same view for this guy as Lex Luthor. He is nigh invincible, his fights are boring (because odds are, he always wins), and therefore, the whole idea about him is, for me, boring. Although I do think that Cavill is the best Superman to date. Yes, even better than (the late) Reeve.

Conclusion, Batman v Superman is a confusing mess. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much, thinks that Batman and Wonder Woman was awesome here, and didn’t mind at all with the idea of Snyder directing the next DC’s repertoires of superheroes.

FF-TCG Entry: Auron (1)

Believe me or not, I’m playing Final Fantasy series usually not because of its story, but rather for the grinding. Yes, the mindless repetitive action just to unlock the next “cool” stuff that the game has to offer.

So, while I am familiar with Auron and Final Fantasy X (unlocked everything, including Wakka’s special ability that requires you to waste hours and hours of time in Blitzball mini-game. Not a “fun” idea for most, I gather), I can’t exactly tell how to fit his role in the story beyond the fact that he is sorta a guardian for Tidus, the main character, and somehow linked to Tidus’s mysterious father in the past which in turn, held a significant role in the game’s story. Maybe.

There are at least two cards featuring Auron in FF TCG. They are as follows (translation under each image):

1-001r

This card costs 6 crystal, and of a Fire element (red color). It is of a Forward type, which means it could attack, with a power of 9000. This power number also doubles as toughness. When it receives damage bigger than this number, then this card is removed from the active field. It also has Guard as its designated job. Note that this Guard is a literal translation from ガード because most likely if this game ever localized into English, I’m betting it would say “Guardian” instead. Semantics, really, but localization job has to be consistent throughout the series.

The original text of this card is as follows:

アーロンが対戦相手にダメージを与えたとき、あなたは手札から火属性のバックアップ1枚をフィールドにダル状態で出してもよい。

The literal translation is When Auron deals damage to your opponent, you may play one Backup of Fire Element from your hand into the field, in a dull position. Not really great ability because you need Auron to survives another turn, and then use it to attack the opponent (instead of removing other active threats in the field), and then you have to have a Fire element Backup ready in your hand. And you play this Backup in Dull position, meaning you cannot use it until your next turn which is maybe, a bit too slow. But 9000 Power is not to be frowned upon.

1-002u

This card costs 5 crystal, also of a Fire element (red color). Coincidentally (or not), Auron also wears red cloak so his inherent element is quickly recognizable. One less crystal is required to play than the previous Auron card although it has the same power level (9000), same type (Forward) and same job (Guardian). Therefore, this card has to has an ability weaker than the previous card to justify its one less cost. Not necessarily, though, as bad design in card game is sometimes intentional. Maybe required even.

The original text of this card’s ability is as follows:

あなたのコントロールするバックアップは対戦相手の効果によってはブレイクされない。

And the literal translation. Your controlled backups cannot be broken as a result of your opponent’s effect. While the ability is kinda “meh,” I actually kinda prefer this ability than previous Auron’s. This might boils down to my personality in playing a trading card games. I usually prefer my cards to “stick” in the field rather than to aggressively playing card after card. This card’s ability fits more into that personality than the previous Auron’s ability. And therefore, the previous card, in my opinion, simply did not justify its cost of one more crystal. Plus, because one of the Rules in FF-TCG says that you cannot have more than one card with the same name in the field unless the card has the “multiple” icon on its top-right corner (Auron cards doesn’t have this icon), you can only put one Auron in the field. Should an effect either from you or your opponent put another Auron in the field, then both Auron were sent to the Break zone. This makes this card, in my opinion, even more viable to play rather than previous card.

Also, this card’s rarity is “Uncommon” which is slightly more commonly found in packs rather than previous Auron which is “Rare.” This leads me to believe that FF-TCG did not take off because issues like this. It seems more like Square Enix wants to bet on this series’ fanbase who would blindly buy something from this series even if it merely slapping existing illustration into a bunch of rectangle cartons with some texts and arbitrary Rules on it.

Well, at least it works on me.