Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice review

2016’s second superhero film comes to theaters in the form of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This is a film that has garnered equal amount of hype and controversy, due to casting and style choice, and just the overall vision of the director Zach Snyder, but how does it measure up to the likes of Disney and Fox?

With an amazing opening weekend of over 160 million dollars, it’s safe to say that Batman vs. Superman was successful.

It stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, and Jessie Eisenberg as (respectively) Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor, serving less as a sequel to Man of Steel, and more of an introduction to DC Comics extended universe.

The movie takes place 18 months after the events of Man of Steel, tensions are high due to a lack of trust of Superman after his destructive battle with General Zod. As the sole Kryptonian on Earth, the U. S. government is asking for him to take responsibility for seemingly reckless use of his power, meanwhile, a world-weary Batman is also looking to see him answer for the destruction in Metropolis mainly because of the Wayne Enterprises employees that were suffered because of it.

Lex Luthor, on the other hand, is less interested in making the last son of Krypton pay him, and more obsessed with pitting him against the Dark Knight, for reasons that are thinly glossed upon, and he also is trying to get permission from the government to raid Zod’s ship, and desecrate his corpse. He seems to be obsessed with Meta-humans in general, tailing potential threats such as Wonder Woman.

He goes to great lengths to make his dream fight happen, including kidnapping and attempting to kill the 2 most important women in Superman’s life, Lois Lane and Martha Kent (Played by Diane Lane). When that fails, he sends Doomsday to kill them both.

So as to avoid spoilers, I won’t tell you the outcome of the battle.

Now let’s dissect this movie a bit, and see what did and did not work.

BvS had some gorgeous cinematography; every set piece was a joy to look, and the fight scenes were amazing. Zack Snyder certainly knows how to make a movie look pretty.

Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck phenomenal in their respective roles; Affleck who is a fan of comics capture the cynical and hardened nature of Batman and worked really hard to become him, and I can’t wait for his stand alone films. Gadot’s Wonder Woman was as strong and eloquent as the comic character, she didn’t say much, but never wasted a scene, and even took a few jabs as Bruce Wayne.

Henry Cavill was commendable as Superman, but his performance would have more enjoyable were there less focus on the character lamenting his mistakes. Cavill’s Superman works best when he knew what he was doing and not acting like a hot mopey mess.

Amy Adams tried her best with what she was given.

And then there’s Mr. Eisenberg, I don’t know who was trying to play, but that was not Lex Luthor, it felt more like a failed attempt at impersonating Heath Ledger’s Joker, or Jim Carrey’s Riddler. Nothing about his action seemed calculated or thought out, and you never really understand his motivation, I was not convinced that this is the man who will eventually lead the Legion of Doom.

But those problems are less on the actor and more on the writing as a whole, nothing in this movie transitions smoothly, I sat through the first 20 minutes having no earthly idea of what was happening. I understand that exposition is a lazy way to tell a story in a film, but it would have worked wonders for this one. A lot of things just happen with very little setup, and to be honest I facepalmed a few times.

There were also DCEU cameos that were extremely forced while I thought they were kind of cool, it felt like they just trying to 1-up Marvel.

And the whole, “you don’t owe the world anything” scene, highlights one of my biggest gripes; they were trying too hard to follow the Nolan school of superhero movies. Superman is not an antihero, he may doubt himself at times, but he always does what is right. He stands for that ideal that people should aspire to, being noble in the face of adversity. He’s been hated in the comics many times, but he never gave up, and never once considered it. All his brooding made my blood boil.

Which leads me to the biggest fault of this film, this was not a movie for the fans, no this is esoteric fan fiction fueled by Zack Snyder’s ego. As a long time fan of DC comics, I can say that aside from fights there was no fun to be had and no love put into this project.

At the end of the day, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is all style and no substance, if you must see it, wait to rent or legally stream it.

I give it a 4.5 out of 10.

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