Thursday, April 25, 2024

First Look: “Batman vs. Superman” Brings Out the A List, Unites Two Biggest Superheroes Ever


This isn’t a review and there are no spoilers. We are not allowed to say much about “Batman vs. Superman” I think until Tuesday evening. But Sunday night the movie premiered at Radio City Music Hall and that big wide screen in front of lots of interesting people.

I ran into Gayle King, John Leguizamo, Zachary Levi. I saw chef Bobby Flay. It was that kind of range. I know Al Roker was there. So was Will Smith. I actually saw his son, Jaden, wearing a dress and sporting a hair style that might pick up UHF stations. Kerri Kennedy brought her family. Joe Pantoliano brought his, as well as Marcia Gay Harden’s niece, a comic trying her luck in New York.

Most of the cast was present, too: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams and Diane Lane among them. Scoot McNairy is featured in the film and came with his wife. Scoot has taken off like a rocket in “Halt and Catch Fire” and several films. He played one of the Americans escaping from Iran in “Argo,” which was directed by Affleck and written by Chris Terrio– who co-wrote the “BvS” script as well. I met Scoot when he stole “Lawless” from Brad Pitt and a big cast. Keep your eye on him.

I finally met Michael Uslan, who told me it was he who bought the film rights to Batman from DC Comics in 1979. He’s been executive producer of all the movies since then, from Michael Keaton through the new one. He’s very thrilled that for the first time, the real creator of most of the Batman story, Bill Finger, is finally given credit. He brought many from that family with him to walk the red carpet. The Fingers finally have Batman in hand.

“BvS” is full of surprises, cameos, Easter eggs, inside winks to fervent fans and experts. My guess is people will be going back and back to it to get the ones they missed. Seeing Superman meet Batman for the first time on screen, and Clark Kent meet Bruce Wayne, and Bruce meet Lois Lane, etc. For a comic book fan from way back, that’s a treat.

On screen I liked seeing senior US Senator Patrick Leahy playing a senator in a scene with Holly Hunter. (He was also in The Dark Knight Rises.) He’s a huge Batman fan, did you know that? He was also the nicest member of the Anita Hill committee. Here’s a trivia question: who’s the junior Senator from Vermont? Hint: Larry David plays him on “SNL.”

What am I allowed to say? There are two sequels, so to speak, or continuations of “Bvs.” They are each “Justice League of America” movies. There’s a Wonder Woman movie. And there are three more Batman movies with Ben Affleck. So Warner Bros. is fairly committed to this. The idea is to step up their game a la Marvel. Time Warner stockholders will be pleased, that’s all I can say for now.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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