Even politics better than joyless 'Batman v. Superman'
Crash Clark reviews Batman v. Superman
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't already seen this movie and are determined to go, be warned, plot elements are divulged below — not that it could possibly make your viewing experience any worse.
My girlfriend and I went to see "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" on Thursday night. The movie is a joyless mess.
Henry Cavill is back as Superman, a role he first played in "Man of Steel." He plays the iconic superhero as a brooding whiner with the emotional range of a broccoli floret. They attempted to fix his emotional range this go-round by having him have sex with Lois Lane (Amy Adams) in a bathtub.
Ben Affleck is in his first turn as Batman. He looks like he's been doing more steroids than the average professional wrestler. There's even a lengthy montage of him working out like a "Rocky" movie.
Batman is mad at Superman because in "Man of Steel," Superman fought a bad guy named General Zod. Their fight destroyed a lot of buildings and killed a lot of people, including people who worked for Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne.
Batman is against killing. Except he constantly kills people in this movie. Everything Batman owns has a machine gun mounted on it — the Batmobile, the Batplane and, probably, his Bat-bidet.
He uses guns. He shoots people. He blows them up in cars.
They're all bad guys, so I guess that's OK. The vigilante justice code is complicated.
Anyway, Batman, who, as I mentioned, is against killing, decides to kill Superman because he's dangerous. So he steals kryptonite from Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg) and makes a bunch of kryptonite weapons.
Eisenberg plays Superman's nemesis with a collection of the most annoying personality tics known to humankind, sped up to 5,000 rpm on 27 gallons of Mountain Dew Kickstart.
Absolutely nothing about his performance works. Every second Eisenberg is on screen would be more entertaining by replacing his dialogue with the sound of a dental drill at top speed.
Eventually, Superman and Batman fight.
Lots of property is damaged. But it's OK. It's after hours.
The area is mostly free of civilians. Anderson Cooper says so on CNN.
That's right. The real Anderson Cooper plays himself in a movie about superheroes trying to kill each other. They even use the CNN logo.
Why not? Time Warner, which made the movie, owns CNN. It might as well figure out a way to make a little money off the news division.
Cooper rose to prominence reporting on the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Now he reports on the fake devastation of superhero battles for his corporate masters. The line between news and entertainment is officially erased.
Lots of TV news people are in the film.
Charlie Rose is there with the PBS logo. Rose, though, doesn't do a very good job playing himself.
Not once did he interrupt the subject of his interview to show how smart he is. That's not the Charlie Rose that puts old people to sleep at night. Maybe he was just CGI.
Nancy Grace of HLN, another Time Warner "news" outlet, plays herself, too. Grace's cameo is actually good news for Lex Luthor. It means he is only the second-worst person in the movie.
It's no wonder millennials get their news from comedians such as John Oliver and Larry Whitmore. If so-called real journalists can't bother to stick to nonfiction, why should news consumers?
Anyway, eventually Batman and Superman stop fighting and team up because a big, sloppy CGI monster shows up. The monster is constructed from General Zod's body, some of Luthor's blood, some alien sewage and possibly snips, snails and puppy dog tails.
Then Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) shows up. If this seems abrupt, it is. But trying to make sense of this by the time she gets there is a fruitless exercise.
Gadot is pretty cool. This could be because she doesn't say much and isn't in the movie for very long.
The only way an actor could improve on her performance with a movie like this is not be in it at all.
There are lots of explosions, a couple funerals and lots of gloom and doom.
I couldn't decide if I was watching a movie about the two most iconic superheroes in history or actual coverage of a Donald Trump rally.
That's a sign of how bad this movie is. I have read comic books since I was a boy. I still buy a fresh stack when they come out every Wednesday.
Yet, in a movie starring the two most famous superheroes ever, I started to think about politics.
It happened somewhere in between the pounding drums of Hans Zimmer's migraine-inducing soundtrack and director Zack Snyder's eye-rotting visual carnage.
It is probably a coincidence that a movie where Superman and Batman slug it out and "Captain America: Civil War," where Captain America and Iron Man fight, both came out in a presidential election year.
But the similarities between superhero smack-downs and the presidential campaign can't be denied.
Both aspire to be a deep, thoughtful looks at contrasting ideologies, but are, in fact, just shouting and blowing things up with TV talking heads yammering incoherently, pretending to practice journalism.
I left the theater with one clear thought: Whether it be Batman v. Superman, Captain America v. Iron Man, or Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump, I am tired of a culture where everyone is at each other's throats all the time.
Daniel P. Finney, the Register's Metro Voice columnist, is a Drake University alumnus who grew up in Winterset and east Des Moines. Reach him at 515-284-8144 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @newsmanone.