Batman v Superman … who will survive the epic match?
That question actually misses the point. Why bother watching a bloated blockbuster like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” when you can binge-watch Netflix’s “Daredevil”? The former isn’t as bad as some critics claim, and it does just enough to set the upcoming DC Comics film universe in motion. It still delivers fewer thrills than the average “Daredevil” episode.
Superhero fans deserve the best, and right now “Daredevil” laps “Batman v Superman.” It’s not a fair fight.
1. It’s the Story, Stupid
The Netflix series has enough space to tell a story without compromise. It’s the inherent advantage TV has over film these days, now that most shows embrace long-form narratives. That gives “Daredevil’s” writers enough wiggle room to slowly develop character arcs and deliver details organically. Compare that to how “Batman v Superman” clumsily introduces the “meta-humans” we’ll soon see in spinoff features like “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman.” And does anyone really know why Lex Luthor burns so many calories to smite Superman?
2. Well-Earned Grit
“Daredevil” is just as gritty as “Batman v Superman.” Bloodier, too. Is there ever a fight where Matt Murdock’s hero doesn’t spit blood out of his red-stained mouth? Who could forget the sight of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) slamming a thug with a car door in season one? Gross.
The new “Bat” film is gritty, too. Ben Affleck’s Batman brands the villains he collars. He talks about making Superman bleed, relishing the thought. And the whole look of the movie is film noir dark. Yet “Daredevil” feels lived in, like you could step onto the set and smell the crime in Hell’s Kitchen. The same is true of its rich characters. “Batman v Superman” offers a wonderfully detailed production, but it feels like elaborate window dressing, nothing more.
3. And … Action!
“Batman v Superman” features a terrific fight sequence involving Batman and a battle royale that goes on forever thanks to the magic of CGI. Once more we watch actors pummeling a computer image. It’s perfectly acceptable, but hardly memorable.
Every fight scene in “Daredevil” feels like an event. It’s simple fisticuffs, but the directors behind the saga throw each punch with purpose. They don’t need CGI to get our blood pumping. The realistic choreography more than does the trick.
4. Heck, We Like Daredevil
Charlie Cox’s Daredevil is hopelessly flawed. He’s brave beyond reason and just as stubborn. But his heart is pure. He wants to clean up his beloved neighborhood while protecting those he loves – Foggy (Elden Henson) and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll). It’s easy to root for this bunch.
Compare that to Affleck’s Batman, a sour millionaire you might steer clear of at a dinner party. Henry Cavill’s Superman is milquetoast through and through, and even Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor lacks the charisma some supervillains possess. Wouldn’t you grab a Heineken with Gene Hackman’s Luthor … even knowing his plans to rearrange California’s coast? Only Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is undeniably fun to watch. Maybe her standalone movie will be a match for Netflix’s “Daredevil”?
Christian Toto is a freelance writer and editor of HollywoodInToto.com.