This Robert Downey Jr movie remains one of my favourites - because who doesn’t love a good redemption tale?Read More
So, Justice League. I can't say that I was surprised by the way it turned out. After the terrible reviews of Batman v Superman, something's gotta give. I'm sure the WB suits were in panic mode when the movie received such a huge battering from critics. "Marvel-ise it! Now!" I could almost hear them screech.Read More
So, should you listen to the reviewers?
NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT.
I remember walking out of the cinema, dazzled by what I have seen, moved to the point of muteness, and eager to see what others are saying about it ... only to read vitrolic reviews. I was frankly gobsmacked.
Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice has got to be the most unfairly reviewed movie I've ever seen. I mean, the disparity between the "professional" critics and the fans are pretty crazy.
Batman vs Superman is not as bad as the Green Lantern (26%), and there is no way Fantastic Four (36%) is better than it!
But fine, let's address the reviewers' criticisms one by one:
Superman is too broody
Superman is a tough character to transition into a 21st-century where suicide bombers blow up people at shopping malls and ISIS is butchering folks and airing their executions live on social media. The original Superman existed during a more cheerful, optimistic, black and white time. Zack Snyder's version is a Superman for 2016. He is buffeted by the darkness of our time and conflicted by the tough choices he have to make: Should he use his immense powers to kill so that more would live? Should he be the hero to fickle humanity, who would worship him one second, and then blame him for everything that goes wrong when it's convenient? How can Clarke Kent, raised as a good man (boy scout, some say) exist in such a grey time? This Superman's reactions are very realistic for our time.
It's too dark
Now, this criticism is a head-scratcher. A movie with Batman ain't going to be a Disney romp. This is a man who has been tortured physically and emotionally by villains like Bane and the Joker. Batman is equally brutal in the comics to bad guys. He is not going to be, nor was he ever, a happy, jokey guy. Also,this is not a Marvel movie. I get the impression that many of the critics were disappointed they weren't getting an Avengers part trois. Again. This is not a Marvel movie. I appreciate the fact that DC is trying to position itself as the anti-Marvel of sorts. Superman vs Batman is mature, dark and sober - the thinking man's comic book movie.
There's way too many things going on!
I 100% agree with the critics about this. This is what the movie attempts to do: a) Give Batman a backstory b) Build the tension between Superman and Batman c) Set up the Justice League movie d) Build on Superman's angst about his role from Man of Steel e) Foreshadow future conflicts f) Introduce Wonder Woman
The movie would've been much better if they removed (e) and (c), and lightly touched on (d). F, thank god was one of the best parts.
It takes a lot to pay attention to all of these plot threads. If you don't know the characters' backgrounds and history, it'll be more challenging. I can't fault casual moviegoers, especially those who have not read the comics, for getting bored or frustrated. Batman v Superman should've been two movies. Blame it on the impatience of movie execs.
In a perfect world, Superman v Batman would've been a four-hour miniseries, but Snyder had to squeeze four to five hours of material into 2.5 hours. Yikes!
Jesse Eisenberg is an awful Lex Luthor
I thought that if Lex existed in our time, he would've been a dot.com mogul. I'm largely neutral about Eisenberg's role, but I was very sure that his manic too-many-cups-of-coffee performance would not gel well with some, who is more used to the confident, supremely controlled, Machievellian version we have gotten used to over the years. Still, I thought he brought the right kind of energy to the movie. I mean, with Superman and Batman being such dark, broody, intense figures, the last thing we needed was a dark, intense, broody villain. Believe it or not, he was light relief.
Batman didn't have a good reason to go after Superman
With so many plot threads going on, something's gotta give, and it's a pity that it's one of the most important threads that wobbled.
So, should you watch Batman v Superman?
It all depends on how forgiving you are with the movie's flaws and how accepting you are of the changes Snyder has made.
If the cohesiveness of the plot matters to you most, you will probably hate it. If you have a certain unshakeable vision of how the characters should be and am not open to reinterpretations, you'd probably dislike Snyder's liberties.
Oh, and you'd most certainly dislike it if you're not into angst.
But I loved it because of the fresh vision. I loved how Snyder brought Superman into the 21st century - it's a tough job and I don't envy him for it. I enjoyed Ben Affleck's Batman and never imagined that he would best Christian Bale in a million years, but he did, and I love that.
Batman v Superman is not a perfect movie, but it certainly doesn't deserve a 29% rating. 2007's Fantastic Four (36%) is in no way better than this movie.
My rating: 75%.
The Cistercian monks of Tibehirine in Algeria live a simple life. They worship God in their modest chapel with singing and silent meditation, hold services for the town's few Christians, listen to the problems of their Muslim neighbours, offer them medical aid and listen to their problems. They live in harmony with their Muslim neighbours, showing them love instead of judgement. They don't sell Christianity with cheap slogans or threats like some brassy American preachers. Here, the monks evangelise with love.
When an Islamic fundamentalist group massacres a group of foreign aid workers, their Muslim friends beg them to leave but they refuse, believing that they need to make a stand.
Sigh, this French movie really makes me think about Malaysia. How fundamentalism threatens to ruin what little harmony we have. The scene in the movie that stood out for me is when a couple of Muslims were talking to Christian, one of the monks, about a Muslim girl being killed for not wearing the hijab.
"God says in the Quran you kill your brother you got to hell. They say they're religious, they have not read the quran!" said one man.
"The world's gone mad, Christian." said an elderly Muslim. "Where are we going? I don't know who these people are. Only god knows," he lamented.
Seriously, he's echoing our thoughts.
Ultimately, we are all brothers and sisters. So, why the hell are we fighting so hard to make people believe what we believe, live the way we live?
Of God's and Men is a slow-moving movie; it's not filled with gun battles or vampy women. Which is why it's so jarring when the quiet and serene lives of the monks and their Muslim neighbours are brutally interrupted by senseless violence. In this way the director demonstrates what a sharp contrast there is between true spirituality and religious fanatism.
But lest you think the monks are superhuman, they are fearful and doubt too. As one monk says, "Dying for my faith shouldn't keep me up nights. Dying here and now does it serve a purpose? .. I don't get it. Why be martyrs? For God? To be heroes?"
And Christian answers. "We're martyrs out of love; out of fidelity."
This movie is based on a true story, by the way. And that makes it all the more sadder - that it really happened.
A touching and moving movie. If we can all live like the monks of Tibehirine, the world would be a much better place.