Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, by Warner Bros., arrived in theaters with big expectations to lay the ground work for the DC Extended Universe.  For three long years drooling fans have waited for this time, and after plenty of hype from all the variations of trailers, the film product, which contains the first time these three iconic heroes share the big screen together, was unleashed unto the world and . . . it’s just okay.

Look, this wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be.  Instead of leaving the theater in joy with a big grin on my face, I left in confusion.  The confusion of feeling joy and gloom all in one bag.  I didn’t love what I saw, nor did I hate it.  This just isn’t what I expected to see or feel from a film containing three of my favorite heroes from the DC Universe.  It is not your traditional Batman and Superman we have all known to love throughout the years, so think twice before bringing your kids.  An aged Batman is even darker now, using guns and branding his villains.  Superman is a disconnected savior to the people.  It’s darker times, it’s different, it’s bold, but it needed some fine tuning.

The film is basically the conflict of these two “heroes” which builds from the final battle between Superman and General Zod in “Man of Steel”.  The public begins to turn on the Man of Steel due to the mass destruction caused in Metropolis and other areas.  Superman needs to be accounted for his actions.

Bruce Wayne was one of those on the ground during the battle in Metropolis and we see through his eyes the destruction that is caused.  It is a wonderful scene, being able to revisit the battle through Bruce’s eyes, and even shows some heroic actions (rare in this film) from Bruce himself trying to save others during the chaos.  Unfortunately, the Wayne building is destroyed, and in the street, surrounded by wreckage, Bruce’s face shows it all.  He must stop Superman.  Yet, he’s not the only one.  Enter Lex Luthor.  This brilliant, megalomaniacal billionaire also has it in for the Man of Steel and works up a plan to work the public and the Batman against him.

[Minor Spoilers the rest of the way]

Let’s begin with the positives.  Director Zak Snyder (Man of Steel) once again delivers on the visuals.  The film starting off in Metropolis, through Bruce Wayne’s eyes was a treat for the eyes.  It is truly a spectacle to see the final scenes of Man of Steel from the ground level, with Superman soaring by.  It is an incredible view and I just loved it.

Batman is stunning and possibly the best looking we have seen on film.  His costume is based on the Frank Miller version from “Dark Knight Returns” and is incredible to look at, the armored version and without.  Also, when this Batman does deliver the blows (such as in a warehouse scene), they are hard and crushing.  The action was simply great and could be the best Batman action we have seen on-screen.  Ben Affleck really hits the mark as the Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne.   He’s built like a tank for the Dark Knight and also plays the businessman, playboy version of Bruce very well.  Also, the voice box that is used for when he is Batman was an excellent idea versus the growling of his predecessor, Christian Bale (which I really didn’t mind at all but this is definitely an improvement).  I’m fully confident in Ben continuing the role of Batman in the DC extended universe.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince was a true highlight, her presence just lit up the screen.  With what we are given, she was wonderful.  When we finally see her in action, and her drum pounding theme music from Hans Zimmer kicks in, I started to geek out and got goose bumps.  It was when the film truly lit up.  She stands confidently with a smile and we find this woman loves being a warrior.  I cannot wait to see what she delivers in her solo film.

For some of the others, Jeremy Irons was a great Alfred.  I really enjoyed the interactions between he and Bruce, as Alfred being fatherly counters Bruce’s actions, and loved the fact that he was actually more involved with the Batman’s work than previous versions.  Henry Cavill continues to bring a great physical presence to the Man of Steel.  Unfortunately there is not much stretch for Cavill here as the majority of the time he is stern or just down.  Amy Adams, is an excellent actress and she did great with what she was given.  Unfortunately it seemed she was just kind of thrown into places to be saved (multiple times) and some of her actions didn’t make sense, but she delivered the goods as needed.

Now the cons.  The tone was dark and dreary almost all the way through.  Superman has his personal problems with being a rejected hero, whereas Bruce Wayne has plenty of demons in his past and has grown to be a darker vigilante.  Superman’s destructive carelessness in Metropolis is just the icing on the cake and Batman means to put an end to this super powered alien.  Their problems were amplified and it goes on for too long.  Instead, we could have perhaps spent more time getting the DC Trinity together for the first time and see them work as a unit, interact, and hopefully . . .  be heroes.

Then there is Lex Luthor.  Jesse Eisenberg is a great actor and some of his moments as Lex Luthor were great.  However, the portrayal of Lex here is an odd one.  Lex Luthor, as generally known, is the intellectual villain who always tries to outwit Superman.  In this universe, he’s an intellect, but kind of quirky and comes off almost like he was cast as the Joker or Riddler.  It didn’t feel natural too me at all, and again, some scenes it worked, but for the most part it just didn’t.

There are numerous scenes that just did not make sense, felt disjointed, or character actions were strange.  Such as the dream sequences. There were just one too many, which made the film longer and really did nothing to push the story forward.   Don’t get me wrong, they looked great, and I fully understand what they signify, which is exciting for us comic fans, but they really felt out-of-place with the film.  The same goes for the meta human teaser Diana viewed.  It was horrible timing for this scene within the film as the flow of the film was suddenly interrupted for some mini trailers which could have been better placed.

Some interactions with Batman and Superman were odd, such as Superman flying in on Batman in the midst of a gun battle just to scold him and fly away, versus actually being heroic and helping out or at least see what’s going on.  Then there is Batman v Superman, ” the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world” (as Lex puts it).   It took way too long to get the point, it seemed rather pointless, and the transition from being foes to becoming friends was too quick and also hard to swallow.

Again, the moment Wonder Woman enters the scene, the film just lights up.  Hans Zimmer thundering scores kicks in just as she appears and gets you ready for the battle.  Here is a hero who is not miserable and fighting on humanity’s behalf without any question.  Finally!  However, it was awesome to see the DC Trinity together on-screen and gave me that similar feeling I had when first seeing the Avengers together on film.  Just unforgettable.   But unlike the Avengers, it’s a shame that it took too long to get to this point and the interaction between them was minimal.

Batman v Superman did not live up to the hype, and there was a lot of hype.  However, in this over bloated film, there is still some good which I found enjoyable and can see returning to for another round.  I really hope Warner Bros., Mr. Snyder and company got their teasers and dream sequences out-of-the-way with this film and bring forth a more balanced film going forward for the Justice League.  I still look forward to seeing  more of Ben Affleck as Batman, and especially, the only true hero here, Wonder Woman,  along with the rest of the Justice League films.  If the crew can work on a more heroic journey for our heroes and really iron out the wrinkles then hopefully the franchise will turn out fine.

Those more familiar with the comic titles the story bases itself off of will enjoy the film more than others.  The film just has so much star power and flashy looks that one would expect the end result to be brilliant.  However, it is like some of those hair bands from the 80’s that formed “Super Groups” with the best musicians out there, yet only to find their finished product was just . . . alright.  A lot of hype and star power, some flashes of greatness, but a mediocre output, yet they were at least worth checking out.  This is very similar here.

2-5-stars

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