Cast – Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne
Alluring element – The title should warrant enough interest Check it out if you liked – Man of Steel, 300: Rise of an Empire, the new TMNT reboot, the dance scene in Spider-Man 3, Deadpool’s portrayal in X-Men Origins, the end of Old Yeller, when everybody get a trophy for showing up
Plot – 5 Acting – 6 Representation of Genre – 5 Cinematography – 6 Effects/Environment – 5 Captivity – 6 Logical consistency – 5 Originality/Creativity – 6 Soundtrack/Music – 4 Overall awesomeness – 7
Was it really that bad?
By now, surely, word has gotten around about what a travesty this movie is. Media outlets all over have ripped this movie apart for being the worst thing since Batnipples. Some of the criticism is warranted, some of it is a bit melodramatic, but by all accounts, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a good movie. It’s a serviceable movie, with several shining moments and, more importantly, a solid launching point for the Justice League movie to come. Hell, if Warner Bros would have allowed even an inkling of detail concerning the movie remain a surprise, this would have been a very fun experience.
As scathing as the reviews were, there is no way Warner Bros/DC would let their cash cow Batman v Superman stink to high heaven. There are some liberties taken, but overall, Ben Affleck’s Batman is satisfying – a unique Batman from the rest of his films and, considering this is the same guy who made 300: Rise of an Empire, Zack Snyder managed to keep it in his pants for most of the movie. Here’s our breakdown of what went wrong, what went right, and what we learned along the way.
An F for ‘ffort?
The Real Star of the Show
First, let’s talk about the brightest part of the movie; Wonder Woman was amazing! Gal Gadot’s presence alone was enough to draw all the attention in the room to her. Her bracelets were badass, her shield was badass, the pure mystery surrounding her was great AAANNND she wasn’t “too skinny” to fill the role. There’s a weird nugget of info about her that feels out of place, and it centers around a Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine), a character that will be of significance in her solo movie, set to take place in WW1.
Because He’s Batman
Batman’s portrayal was another high note. Everything that was present in the previews was just as cool on the big screen. The Batmobile was entirely reminiscent of the Arkham Knight, as was the new underground Batcave. Batman’s tech was upgraded to make sense in the current times, and even though his lore was haphazardly put together, it was fairly seamless in terms of being able to jump in the middle of his continuity without missing too much. Although, I’m not sure how Batman has been around for 20 years and nobody has taken notice of him before this…
Really though, the film misses its mark by making him one of the world’s worst detectives, allowing himself to get played by Lex into feeding his feud with Superman. It was also kind of awkward how murderful Batman was in this movie, the same way that Superman was in Man of Steel. The human wreckage that Batman leaves behind while in the Batmobile was jaw-dropping and left a bad taste in my mouth; it also makes me wonder how the solo movies will play on his battle against utilitarianism if he is so flippant when it comes to ending the lives of criminals. The fact that there is never an attempt to save anybody or any remorse felt for the actions is disappointing. How disappointing? This disappointing:
The use of comic book source material was also very satisfying. Batman v Superman emulates two comic books stories very well. As advertised, the prominent comparison is to The Dark Knight Returns, a classic Frank Miller tale that reverses the movie roles of Superman and Batman, yet still questions the role super-powered beings and vigilantes should play in maintaining the status quo. Batman v Superman does a good job here, as the Batman/Superman brawl is like something straight out of a dream. That being said, the other book [which we will keep unnamed so as to keep from spoiling a major plot point] that the movie borrows from was done very poorly, and in a shallow way that felt cheaply written.
Supporting characters were mostly ass
We need to talk about just how terrible Jesse Eisenberg is at being Lex Luthor. It was a fear we had after hearing the stupid “red capes are coming” quote in the second trailer, and it was truly a nightmare realized. We wanted to give the benefit of the doubt, figuring that maybe this eccentric, mad scientist version would be new and exciting, but it just made us uncomfortable, and made me long for the days of Kevin Spacey. Fun fact: Zack Snyder passed on Bryan Cranston for the role of Lex Luthor. Idiot.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane is also a bit of a misstep, and it has to do more with the amount of focus the movie has on her rather than her actual performance. Yes, Lois is the one who anchors Superman to this world. Yes, Lois is the one that helps Superman keep his sanity, but she was just ALWAYS there. Next to Batman and Superman, she had the most screen time, and seemed to have Clark/Superman at her beck and call, even though she never really commanded any attention through the storyline. She was a reporter, a pawn, a bystander for most of the movie, and there were several other characters more deserving of an interesting story.
Oh, and Superman was in it. Pouting about being Superman, mostly.
One thing we can always rely on a Zack Snyder film for is a strong presence of CGI, and he did not disappoint here. The fight scene with the Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) used the 300-esque slow-down effects to give fans a pretty sweet view of the heroes in their ass-kicking glory. Otherwise, the CGI was not too gaudy – with one glaring exception. What the hell was up with Doomsday? He’s not the Doomsday we know and love, but rather some bastardized conglomeration of Bizarro and the Turok-Han from Buffy. And he shoots lasers out of his eyes? What is it with crappy origin stories and bad guys with lasers coming out of their eyes? The movie was actually doing well up to this point, but the presentation of and the fight with Doomsday drags on forever, culminating in an ending that left my eyes rolling instead of weepy.
Twas Only A Dream
Before I prattle on about this, it’s important to note that the DC Cinematic Universe is still in its infancy, with Man of Steel being the only official movie to build this franchise off of – and that’s a movie that didn’t even know if would be the starting point. In order to fully launch this cluster-fuck of a brand, as artificial as it may be, is to drop subtle, incoherent hints about what is to come in the form of bad dreams/omniscient visions. The “Knightmare Batman” sequence, one of the most anticipated of the movie, was little more than a preview of the upcoming Justice League movie: the Injustice-like soldiers, the parademons, the huge Omega in the ground; nothing here (minus a cameo from
Iron Man a future Leaguer) was new from the trailers. On a positive note, the introduction to the other metahuman Justice League members-to-be was done very well without having any corny intro scenes or drawn-out distracting sequences.
Here’s the deal
DC is choosing to go about the assembly of their flagship team in a completely different way than Marvel has, and there’s a good possibility that the upcoming Justice League will make it work out for Warner Bros. With just this movie to go off of, though, the inorganic feeling of cramming “ten pounds of shit into a five-pound bag” (word to Aunt May) is a hard one to argue with here. The movie is inexplicably long, clocking in at 2-1/2 hours long, and if you still have all your marbles intact by the end, I applaud you. WB/DC is taking on a hell of a task, launching the brand simultaneously as opposed to building it naturally. There’s a good chance we’ll look back on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fondly: for the fight scenes that brought one of the best comic books in history to life, for the Joker teaser (could he really be Jason Todd??) that gets expanded upon in Suicide Squad, and for the cinematic debut of Wonder Woman. For now, though, it’s muddled in the shameful portrayal of Lex Luthor, terrible marketing for a film that was basically an extended version of the trailers, and the obvious greed of a movie studio trying to make me like a synthetic version of something I already love.
All pictures belong to Warner Bros and DC Comics.