Movie Review: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice!

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MOVIE REVIEW!!

At long last, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel share the silver screen! Is Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice going to give Marvel a run for their money? FInd out now!

08d16d4567f303c46f16a66041eca2f620352f4bSPOILERS

Three years. Three years of casting rumors, movie announcements, news of the studio being afraid of the finished project, and of fans wondering if Warner Bros could pull off their own cinematic universe based on the characters in DC comics. It’s been a long road, but we’re finally here. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has been released, and with it, the DC Cinematic Universe has begun.

And I wanted to love it. I really did. But in the end, I only liked it.

To call Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice “ambitious” is an understatement. This is a movie that’s serving as the sequel to Man of Steel, setting up a new Batman with Ben Affleck, and also prepping the world for the DC universe on the silver screen. But much of this set up is kind of unfocused, or worse yet, not really in the movie as much as it needs to be. Yeah, you’ll see Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, but not at all like you think you will. In fact, I kind of feel like you shouldn’t have seen them at all, only mentions of them. The end result (with the exception of Cyborg), felt like they just grabbed Ezra Miller and Jason Mamoa for a half hour and filmed the first takes they had. They’re let downs from what we’ve been told from marketing and magazine articles, and I won’t be surprised if your average non-comic reading movie goer ends up feeling cheated.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Batman V Superman focuses on, you guessed it, Superman and Batman finally meeting (and duking it out) on the big screen. Naturally this is the strongest stuff of the movie, but they really only meet up for showdowns two times before coming together to fight Doomsday. Sadly I felt that there just simply wasn’t enough of Batman or Superman in the movie, which has a first hour that felt like some of the slowest moving and random scenes ever.

The film opens with the death of the Waynes (again), and I won’t lie, I had chills from it even though I’ve seen it hundreds of times. For some reason the cinematography, soundtrack, and voiceover from Ben Affleck was able to hit that spot in my Batman loving heart. Right after that is a great scene of Affleck’s Bruce Wayne running through Metropolis during the closing events of Man of Steel, rescuing as many people as he can. It’s a great sequence, and sets up our conflict really well, but after that the movie starts ping-ponging between Lois Lane covering a report for the Daily Planet, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor meeting with a US Senator to get his hands on some Kryptonite, and Perry White bickering at Clark Kent at the Daily Planet. They’re all jumbled together in a visual jigsaw puzzle. It’s very disorienting, and almost pulled me right out of the movie.

Honestlybatman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-ben-affleck, it’s not until we get more of Bruce Wayne’s preparations to take on the Man of
Steel that Batman V Superman really clicks, and a lot of that has to do with Affleck’s performance. He plays Bruce Wayne as an older, bitter Batman who’s been beaten down by 20 years of fighting crime in Gotham City. There are a few missteps with his character (which I’ll get to VERY soon), but for the most part Affleck is truly one of the best actors to play Batman. Hell, he might even be my favorite.

Except for one aspect.

Every Batman film has played The Dark Knight’s “no killing” rule loosely, but Batman V Superman has some of the most blatant “he probably killed that guy” scenes I’ve seen in a Batman film. Even in the “nightmare scene”, an admittedly visually striking scene that could’ve been an entire movie on its own, features Batman not only using guns and shooting at Superman storm troopers, but straight up snapping a trooper’s neck. It’s not Affleck’s fault that this occurs in the film, in the end it’s Snyder’s decision. While I know the easy out for this scene is to say, “it’s all a dream”, but I won’t lie, that scene legitimately made my heart sink. It felt like Snyder found a loophole to show that in “his” world, Batman kills too.

But it’s not all negative. There are some pretty cool moments in BvS, and they primarily NEmMvubkR450pn_4_brevolve around the character that’s been hyped up just as much at Batman and Superman, but doesn’t share the title with them. Wonder Woman appears sporadically in the film as Diana Prince, but when she finally makes her appearance at the end in the battle with Doomsday, she ignites the screen. Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the Amazonian Warrior is truly spectacular, and her moments are absolutely worth the price of admission.

I also found myself being pleasantly surprised by Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, who has some really goofy moments, but also is more similar to the comic incarnation than any previous big screen Lex (thank god his plan isn’t a real estate one again). But my real MVP of the film is Jeremy Irons’ Alfred, who’s both hilarious and kind of a hardass. He’s way more hands-on than any Alfred before him, and while he looks like he’s only a few years older than Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, you get the feeling that he’s been raising Bruce since he was a child. Unfortunately the characters that I felt were weakest were Amy Adams’ Lois Lane, and Henry Cavill as Superman himself. I really like Cavill, and think he definitely looks the part as Superman, but this movie does him no real favors. Aside from a few good moments where he struggles with his place in the world, there isn’t really much for Cavill to do aside from look imposing.

As for the much-hyped battle between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, it is awesome, but it took too long to get there. Lex Luthor is the reason why they fight, pitting them against each other in the hopes that they kill one another. Visually the fight is great and instantly iconic. However, it seemed like Snyder rushed to get the two on good terms. Shortly after Batman and Superman throw down they’re talking to each other and acting like they weren’t just at each other’s throats. It’s a weird shift in the movie that probably would’ve worked better with a little more character work between the two.

You’re all aware that Doomsday is the “big bad” of the film since he was in the trailer, and like I said earlier, Wonder Woman is THE reason this scene is as cool as it is. But if you know your comics, you know what it means for Superman when Doomsday arrives, and when Batman V Superman gets to this point, it feels less like a shocking moment and more like a “wait, we’re doing this too?” It felt like Zack Snyder thought this was going to be the ONLY Superman movie ever, so he better include every major moment of the Man of Steel’s life. It’s surprising for sure, and will make the opening of Justice League interesting, but it seemed more like a “let’s do this too” tactic instead of an earned moment in the film.

A lot of the things that I was worried about in Batman V Superman unfortunately rang true for me. It tries too hard to work as a sequel to Man of Steel, an introduction to Batman, and setting up Justice League, and on top of it all, there’s weird inconsistencies in the plot as well. Superman calls Batman “Bruce” right before their fight, and while I can obviously piece together that Superman probably used X-Ray vision on Batman at some point in the film (well, probably the only other time in the film that they meet), the fact that it’s never shown to us bothered me. Superman’s X-Ray vision wasn’t shown in Man of Steel, so why not show it in this film? It’s also revealed the Lex Luthor pretty much knows who all of the metahumans are, including Superman, but does he know who Batman is? Cause he sees Batman at the end of the movie, but doesn’t call him Bruce. But earlier in the movie he sends blackmail to Bruce Wayne as a way to goad him into a fight. It’s these weird inconsistencies that have stayed with me more than say, the awesome Batman fight in the warehouse, or seeing Superman save a person in a burning building during the Day of the Dead ceremony. In a weird way, I almost wish that Dawn of Justice was either cut into two films, or that Warner Bros. just said “eff it” and released the upcoming 3 hour Blu ray “Ultimate Cut” as the theatrical version.

BvS feels like Zack Snyder read Dark Knight Returns and then said, “I got it”, despite the fact that there are numerous different stories starring Batman and Superman that he could also pull from. The end credits, which list a huge amount of comic creators who have worked on Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman over the years, show us that Frank Miller’s take on the DC universe is not the gospel. There are thousands of stories to choose from to help craft your story.

Despite everything I had heard and feared, I was really pulling for this movie, and I’m pretty devastated that I’m not as into it as some people are. I’m happy for those that thought this movie was everything they wanted and more, but it just didn’t click with me. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mindset. Maybe I was hoping for something more. Maybe the trailers and clips gave too much away. Hell, maybe I need to see it again. But whatever the case, for me at least, Batman V Superman was not what Batman, Superman, or fans of the DC Universe truly deserved.

Verdict: C+

Jonwahizzle is a comic book slinger for Jetpack Comics Find him on PSN (Jonwahizzle), follow him on twitter and check out his blog, The Collective: Examples of Nerdery for more!

12 thoughts on “Movie Review: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice!

  1. Actually your take Jonny is one of the more measured and jiving with my own that I’ve read, so well done. I’m one of the big supporters of Man of Steel (despite not LOVING it) and felt deflated after leaving BvS.

    I think the thing both lovers and haters of the movie should be able to agree on is that it’s badly in need of an editor. You touched on it, but there are SO many scenes that are irrelevant to the plot (like most of the unsubtle Justice League setup stuff sadly) or just drag the pace down. It boggles my mind that there’s going to be a 3 hour version when what Batman V Superman really needs is a cutting down. A decent fanedit is just what this movie needs, and should be fairly straightforward – hell, I might even have a go myself.

    1. See I’ve wondered if the missing half our are the scenes that make all the other scenes actually make sense.

  2. Film was awesome, too bad a flop like Fan4stic didnt come out before it so people would praise it like they did that mediocre Antman film.

  3. I’d say it’s a fair review.
    But you mention something that a lot of people aren’t getting about why Superman knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. It’s actually from an early point in the film when Bruce Wayne is stealing data from Lex Luthor and Clark and Bruce meet for the first time.
    Alfred is in Bruce’s headpiece that Superman can hear at the party and he’s in Batman’s ear when he’s Batman.

    My guess is that we were clued into Superman’s perfect hearing several times in the film for a reason. He saves Lois at the beginning (presumably from hearing she was in trouble from across the world), he listens to Bruce and Alfred and a news report about a fire at Lex’s party, etc.

    I’m not saying this universe is at all consistent, but in Man of Steel young Clark’s x-ray vision looked like x-ray photos, so I don’t think Zack Synder’s logic is that Superman know’s everybody’s facial bone structure as well as their faces. He has x-ray vision but all that means in this “grounded” universe is that Batman has bones under his mask.
    (The universe totally isn’t consistent btw, since Superman got his second wind in the Doomsday fight from the sun, like he should, instead of Earth’s weaker atmosphere or whatever.)
    Both the movies have flawed logic, I just think he was using a different cinematic technique to establish why Superman would know people’s secrets. His real Superpower of super hearing is like an NSA wet dream.

    I really liked Bat-Fleck, so much so that I ALMOST didn’t mind him killing people and using guns pretty liberally. Especially with KGBeast at the end. Good thing his cape was able to save Martha Wayne from blowing up KGBeast 4 feet from her face.

  4. Small correction: you state that they didn’t show Superman’s X-ray vision in MoS, but they actually visually show it when he’s a kid in the classroom and his powers are going out of control causing him to panic, and they show that he can use it with ease when he’s in the military interview room with Lois after turning himself in. He shows off by telling the men on the other side of the one way mirror that he sees that they’re armed, and also that he knows the Dr.’s name because he read his ID card/Nametag something or other through his shirt pocket.

    That being said if the movie leaves you to assume when the alternative is a plot hole then it’s a failing on their part. I actually just watched the last Hunger Games and there’s a plot point that revolves around footage from a security camera from people going into a building, and then 20 minutes later footage security camera footage at that same spot. Yet during that 20 minutes they leave the building, from the same way they came in, right out in the open, and nobody knows. So the plot for the next 30 mintues hinges on the fact that this security camera just existed, then didn’t exist, and then existed again. I haven’t even seen BvS yet, but I can only imagine all the stuff that’s gonna frustrate me.

  5. Ah that’s correct, forgot about the X-Ray scene in MoS.

    And in regards to the super hearing at Lex’s party, there’s nothing said between Bruce and Alfred that would make Clark think that Bruce is Batman. For all we know, Clark probably thinks that Bruce is just a super creeper who wants access to everyone’s files.

  6. There have been plenty of superhero movies that have left me disappointed and frustrated but this is the first superfilm I’ve seen that I felt a sense of aversion and distaste. I thought it was entirely terrible in every way except for the actors. I think Cavil, Gadot, Adams, and Affleck did the best they could with the material they had. As for Eisenberg, he definitely put in a heaping of hard work, but I hate his Luthor. Not at all his fault, I blame Snyder. It seems like Zack S. has missed the point of every character entirely, Batman especially.

    (literally cringed for the whole future Flash scene)

  7. I think the problem with Zack Snyder is that he was perfect for Watchman. And he keeps trying to turn the Justice League characters into the Watchmen characters that are deconstructions of them.

  8. I’ve hated the movie. I found it such a drag to sit through that I almost like Fant4stic more, just on the basis that it’s an hour shorter. I hate that Batman just kills (he does not only shoot guys in his dreams but also uses guns hold by bad guys), I hate Lex Luthor, I hate that boring side story of Lois going around with a bullet to prove Superman innocence (dude, those guys were killed by bullets anyway. Why would Superman use a gun?), I hate that stupid stuff with a jar with piss, I hate how you see Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash like an Powerpoint presentation for Warner Brothers investors, I hate how flat Superman is, I hate how boring Doomsday is (even if it isn’t the movies fault, Doomsday is just a shitty character), I hate that the movie, in it’s 2 and an half hour runtime, only has like 3 moments of levity, I hate it that no one has an actual, believable conversation (besides Alfred, one of the very few sparks of light in the darkness of this movie), I hate it that Superman can hear that Lois is in trouble in Africa, but can’t hear his own mother in Gotham, I hate how Bruce Wayne breaks into Lex his servers with everybody just seeing him do it, I hate how they confuse the common movie visitor with shit like future Flash and way to much throwbacks to the Man of Steel and I really, really, really hate that whole ‘Martha’-stuff.

    There were a few moments I liked it. I liked Alfred. I liked the Batman costume. I loved Wonder Womans part in the Doomsday fight. But for the most part the movie was a big gloomfest, repeating every mistake they made in the Man of Steel and making it worse. It’s just one big disaster of a movie, burning away hundreds of millions of dollars, while they try to stuff 5 movies into one, while referencing 3 other movies who aren’t made. It’s suffocating under it’s own weight, and it punishes the movie watcher for it.

  9. I just finally saw it last night, I had several issues with it. I thought it was “ok” but about on par with the rest of the DC films. I was pleasantly surprised with Affleck’s performance as Batman and consider him the best part. However I’m still bothered that he was so easily tricked into going after Superman by Lex. After investigating Lex so much I would have expected Batman to be smarter and not so easily manipulated. I also find the whole, “wait your Mom’s name is Martha too?” thing was just ridiculous, like really? I also was left wondering what the hell was the whole “Time Traveler guy in a suit dream” was all about. The future nightmare thing I got, it made sense, working of his fears and it looked cool. But then this guy comes out of some kind of (time portal?) to say Louis is the key, WTF was that?

    I also didn’t like Lex being portrayed as a crazy man. He felt more like the joker than what I expect from Lex Luthor. I expect Lex to be calm and calculating, not crazy and talking in riddles. Also, how the hell does Lex know everything about Clark being Superman etc and Bruce Wayne is Batman? That deleted scene you guys posted doesn’t really help because it would have taken place after the tower helipad scene. I feel like they should have spent some more time on Lex’s motivation and explain how he figured out everything.

    I also think using the Death of Superman this early in their movies is a huge waste. If they have all these films planned I would have expected them to save this for later. The whole time I’m sitting there thinking, he can’t be dead, you can’t have a Justice League movie without Superman. So I wasn’t surprised by the dirt on the coffin at the end, I was expecting it. It also goes in perfectly with this “Superman is Jesus” crap that Synder is so in love with. Which is the other issue I have with MoS and BvS. I’m really getting sick of the Jesus comparisons. He’s not a God, he’s Superman. The more times I see MoS the more the references stand out, and in BvS they throw it in your face constantly.

    Overall I’m tired of Synder’s doom and gloom atmosphere and I felt like they took a bunch of pieces from different comic runs and just pieced together the pieces that they liked.

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