So I've finally found time to post my Batman V Superman review. I was so stoked to go see this movie last weekend, and had been ever since it was announced. Batman is one of my favorite characters as those who are a little more on the dark side I find very interesting. Batman just has that edginess to him and appeal. Before I continue further, I want to say everyone go see the movie for yourself, ignore the negative reviews. Make up your own mind. So lets get into it. Be warned there will be spoilers and Easter Eggs, but I tried to hold them back when possible.
Batman V Superman is no where near as bad the major press claim, but its not as great or as good as it could have been. However, it is still a good movie and I will leave what I didn't like until the latter part of the review.
The opening of the movie is really well done and orchestrated, its a narrative explaining in minor detail the origin of Batman, and how he felt during the events of Man of Steel, which Dawn of Justice is the sequel too. Its a good way of introducing the movie and linking to the previous film. I enjoyed this a lot, it gives you a sense of how Batman/Bruce Wayne felt during his years as a crime fighter, and why he feels Superman is a threat to humanity. We see Bruce Wayne helping people in Metropolis after the fallout and climatic battle between Superman and Genera Zod. There is a great scene with Bruce Wayne holding a little girl who sadly lost her family, and the view pans back to reveal Superman flying through the air battling Zod. Bruce Wayne then looks up, and the anger/emotion on Ben Affleck's face is one of the best scenes in the movie. I actually turned to my friend who was sat with me at the time, and both of us said out loud 'Oooooooooooo'. Its a powerful scene, giving you an idea of the growing distrust and brewing fight that is soon to come between the two heroes.
I loved the tone set by this, which as you would expect something starring Batman is very dark. Affleck's Batman is as good as the independent reports say. Honestly, this is one of the best, if not thee best versions of Batman done by an actor. When I first heard that Ben had been cast as Batman I wasn't sold, but I'm glad he has made those of us who were unsure eat humble pie. Batfleck does something exceptionally well, which is separating Bruce Wayne from Batman. Bruce is a troubled, emotionally scarred man, who has experienced a magnitude of trauma and turmoil in his life. When he dons the cape as Batman, just wow. This is a Batman we want, and need to see more of. You all know how excited I was chatting about the Punisher in Daredevil. Its exactly that same kind of feeling. Make no mistake, this version of Batman is brutal. He is dark, nightmarish, and will go to any lengths to take down criminals and villains. Single minded, focused, determined, and 100% believes in what he is doing. For those who have read the comics there is an issue where he has a file on all members of the Justice League (just in case lol). Its that kind of mindset where he has to be 100% sure, and ready to ruthlessly pursue any doubts he holds about someone.
This is the premise for Dawn of Justice from Batman's perspective, and he conveys a level of fear terrifying those he hunts. Alfred, played by Jeremy Irons is really good, and I enjoyed the exchanges between him and Affleck. Good humor, dialogue, and an Alfred who is a lot more involved when Batman is at work. You will see what I'm referring to once you've watched the movie.
Superman is much the opposite, unsure of himself, questioning whether he should be the savior for humankind. He is aware of the growing fear and mistrust some parts of the population are showing him due to the collateral damage associated with his actions. His place in the world isn't helped when during the earlier part of the movie he pretty much flies some guy through a wall and probably half way around the world judging by the force of it! Its a response to Lois Lane in danger, and boy does Superman put some dude through a wall! People and the government start to question Superman's actions. Superman, and particularly when he is Clark Kent view the actions of Batman as out of control, and as much a problem as those he hunts down. Clark wants the Daily Planet to explore this, but the chief editor played by Laurence Fishbourne isn't interested.
So the course is set for Batman and Superman to have their eventful showdown. The situation is manipulated by Lex Luthor for his own ends, which are revealed later in the film. The fight between Superman and Batman is awesome, and not as short as some claimed. It displays Batman's strategic hallmarks, with Superman mostly unaffected until he receives a dose of Kryptonite (I won't reveal how this happens), then Batman beats him down methodically. Its a good exchange largely stopped by Lois Lane who serves as a grounding arc in the movie, mainly for Superman.
This is one of the weak points with Dawn of Justice, and I'm trying to hold off mentioning the negative aspects, but it did feel not enough time was spent with Superman/Clark as the 'man' so we could gain more insight into his perspective on how his life, and role as a super being are effecting him. Its not covered to the same extant as Batman's side, which is why Dawn of Justice feels like a Batman movie. Ok it was a mammoth task to undertake with Dawn of Justice, but I'm wondering if the 30 minutes missing from the theatrical release would be where we see this.
Amy Adams was ok as Lois Lane, but didn't have the same impact on screen as Jeremy Iron's Alfred. Not sure if I mentioned earlier, but Superman's flight and landing were cool. It did feel like an other earthly being breaking the sound barrier.
Gal Gadot like Affleck, I feel has put the critics to rest for her role as Wonder Woman with a solid display as the heroine. She has good chemistry with Bruce Wayne/Batman, and has an aura of mystery to her regarding her origins. Her notable entrance as Wonder Woman is rad. Its a good musical score with guitars playing, she leaps forth at Doomsday (the real uber villain) with a battle cry as she raises her sword. I found her more interesting than Superman, and was up there with Batman for stealing the show. I think its good to see a strong female lead on the big screen, and its different to the usual buffed up macho dudes who work out with big Jim. I feel the same way regarding Jessica Jones.
From the way I've described Dawn of Justice it would give the impression that I think its the best movie ever. I don't. It's a good movie with lots I liked, and a few areas I didn't like. So what stopped Dawn of Justice from realizing its full potential?
It has to be Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg, not a great actor to begin with, and sounds the same in every movie he is in, brings the film down. He absolutely grated on me anytime he was on screen with me turning to my friends and saying 'man......'. I'm aware of who they could have cast in the role, which imo would be a better choice, but using a superior actor for one of DC's iconic villains should've been a no brainer. In a crazy way I felt like I was listening to a very bad version of the Joker. I hope they go with a different actor for Justice League as I heard quite a few groans around the theater, and not sure what they were thinking casting Jesse in the role.
The short cameo from the Flash during a dreamesque sequence in the early part of the movie warning Bruce Wayne of the danger to come from Superman under the control of Darkseid was butt. The vision was good, but the Flash looked like a long lost son of Optimus Prime, and his voice was completely out of it. Grant Austin should be the Flash, and some continuity with the TV universe such as Marvel does, but that's just me.
It did feel a little unfinished despite the fact filming was completed 2yrs ago, maybe due to the fact 30 mins was cut from the theatrical release, but not enough time was given to Superman for him to develop as a character. I wanted to learn more on how he'd felt since Man of Steel, and the struggle he was experiencing with his place in the world. The effect it has on Dawn of Justice is producing a Batman movie featuring a guest appearance from Superman here and there. Wonder Woman was more interesting to me, and I'm not sure how best to describe it, but despite the sacrifice Superman makes at the end of the movie during the battle with Doomsday, he just feels like he is taking a back seat. Ok I guess if you watch Arrow, then the problems with season 4 surrounding Olicity, and cast members more at the fore front than the Green Arrow would be a close comparison.
Yes I'm a Batman fan, but Dawn of Justice needed more time with Superman's perspective just to provide some balance to make it less like a Batman movie.
I didn't really enjoy the way Doomsday was created by Lex Luthor, and he wasn't a villain that captivated me on the big screen. Some sequences feel they lack coherence, which left me disappointed after the movie. Its a good film, but not awful and could have been better. But, is it worth going to see. Yes, definitely. Is it as bad as the major critics say? NO.
Here are a few reasons why you should go see Dawn of Justice including the questions it will leave you asking:
* Ben Affleck aka Batfleck puts its in one of the best performances delivered as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Brutal, dark, fearsome, and his voice as Batman is insane. He deserves a solo Batman movie, and redeems himself for his turn as DD.
* Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman has a great on screen presence, which will make you want to see her solo movie next year.
* The action sequences are very well choreographed, and yes Batman's assault in the warehouse is that good.
* The short cameos of Justice League members Aqua Man, Cyborg, and The Flash (not his Transformers appearance, there is another scene).
What are other critics saying they don't like, and are they major factors? Hmm well it depends on personal preference and how far you want to take it I guess. Some argue its too dark, but anything with Batman will be, and DC is known for being on the darker side. I like both Marvel and DC, and yes Marvel has its dark side as evident with DD, Jessica Jones, Blade, and so on. For me this is a good thing as it gives us all some choice, making each company unique, and providing us with choice.
The issues surrounding Superman killing a guy & Batman using guns are minor for me, and they need to be put into context with the events on screen.
* As I mentioned at the start of the post, Superman pulverizes a guy through a wall. Yes I know in the comics he is a shining light for good with his moral code, but it was nice to see this conflicted side to him, and how he responded when someone he loves was in danger i.e Lois Lane
* Batman using guns. Ok yes I'm sure some fans took great offense to him using guns due to his disdain for them due to his parents murder. Its the core make up of Batman, but lets examine it a moment. He uses a rifle to fire a tracking dart to attach it to a truck. He later uses a method to give Superman a dose of Kryptonite, and that's as much as I can add without revealing full blown spoilers. The Bat was fighting a guy who is kinda the equivalent of a demi god. Other than forcing Superman to watch re-runs of American Idol the guy just did what he had too in accordance with his strategy. The post apoc vision scene from the Flash delivered to Batman features the Bat using guns against soldiers & para demons, but its a bit similar to the way they are used in the movie Equilibrium with Christian Bale. The world is pretty much done so I think in this context I could see why he would use any tool at his disposal to get the job done. Just watch the scene, and yeah not sure what else the guy could do in this scenario.
My own tastes gravitate more towards the darker side, but I also enjoy and can appreciate the lighter tone. Guardians of the Galaxy is an awesome movie. We all have our favorites in everything, but it doesn't mean we cannot like anything else. Hopefully they can learn their lessons for Justice League and give us a truly outstanding movie.
Dawn of Justice is a good movie, not a classic, but not terrible. It is worth going to see in theaters just for this version of Batman. Its a good film, which has received some unfair criticism. Sure there are enough areas I didn't enjoy, but its not garbage, and a good enough film to enjoy.
Happy Easter all. Ancient Visionz. 1.
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