Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Batman and Superman get acquainted
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer, Chris Terrio, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Brandon Spink, Lauren Cohan, Michael Shannon, Michael Cassidy, Charlie Rose, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa
Synopsis: Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG - 13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
WARNING: This entire review will contain spoilers. Do not read if you don't wish to find out what happens in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." However, if you've already seen the movie, or you simply don't care about spoilers, then please read on at your own discretion.
The Death and Return of Superman
3 / 10
- Great action scenes. Very well choreographed.
- Ben Affleck was good, as Batman. Granted, he's no Christian Bale, or Michael Keaton, but he does fine as the character.
- Gal Gadot was surprisingly good. Nothing spectacular, but she wasn't terrible.
- Special effects and sound effects were great.
- The script was filled with too many subplots that bogged down the story; along with too much exposition.
- The dialogue was pretentiously boring.
- Superman isn't given that much character development, which makes his sacrifice less meaningful at the end.
- The romance between Lois Lane and Clark Kent is rarely touched upon.
- Lex Luthor's motivations make little to no sense.
- Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex seemed too cartoonish to take seriously.
- Henry Cavill's performance is wooden; mostly due to horrible direction and script to work with.
- Zack Snyder's direction was lousy in this movie.
- Since the majority of the movie was shot with darkly lit scenes, it makes the 3-D barely noticeable, so I wouldn't bother forking out the extra bucks to see it in 3-D.
- Jokes fall flat.
I haven't been this disappointed in a film since "Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace"
As most of my readers know, I loved "Man of Steel", and even cited that most of the criticism against it was mostly unfair. What some film critics hailed as garbage, I found it to be arguably one of the most emotionally deep superhero films ever made. I still recall how my heart stopped, when I saw little Clark Kent crying in a closet, as he cried how the world was too big. His mom comforted him by saying that he should try to make the world small. It was a touching scene that still warms my heart to this day.
Or the heartfelt scene when Pa Kent gave his life to protect his son's secret still gets to me, and I loved how subtle the emotional nuances were in "Man of Steel" that frankly, it still ranks as one of my all time favorite superhero films. Having said all of that though, I have to say I was severely disappointed by it's followup.
While it's not a true continuation of "Man of Steel", it still picks up where the last movie left off. A year or two has passed, Superman (Henry Cavill) continues to try to be humanity's savior from rescuing children from burning buildings to stopping a bunch of terrorists. The man tries to set a good example, but over half the world fears him. Some question whether he's a god, and if he is a god walking among us, then what's to stop him from turning on us someday? Why should we trust him? What happens when a god has no one to hold him accountable?
After the events of "Man of Steel" left part of Metropolis in ruins, many politicians start to question whether or not they should start to consider Superman a threat to humanity. However, they're not the only ones. Enter Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Ben Affleck).
Unlike the previous adaptations of Batman over the years, this one is directly based on the Frank Miller version of the character that was used as the inspiration for the Tim Burton version in the 80's. Another notable thing to point out is the fact that this is the first Batman to use a grey suit with a dark cape, since Adam West donned the cape and cowl. Not to mention, this Batman uses a voice changer, which is interesting to say the least.
Anyways, Bruce Wayne constantly investigates how to destroy Superman. Meanwhile, Clark Kent takes it upon himself to try to expose the vigilante, Batman, who he feels is a menace to society because he takes the law into his own hands. Wait, isn't that Superman does too?
Of course, you also have Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who sees Superman as a threat as well. He uncovers the mysterious rock known as Kryptonite that could potentially destroy him once and for all. Wonder Woman is there for her own agenda, and it appears Lex Luthor has files on most of the upcoming members of the Justice League. In fact, one of those files even shows the origin of their minuscule member, Cyborg (Ray Fisher). How he got that footage is never explained, but you know...plot convenience...
While I can understand this film is a setup for "Justice League", but the problem is that it spends so much time setting up this expanded universe that Warner Bros. wants to market the s*** out of that it forgets to tell it's own story. It's been said that over thirty minutes of the film was cut out because of time constraints, and it definitely shows. During various moments of the movie, there's scenes that come up that don't make any sense on their own; unless you're a die hard comic book geek. Flash shows up with no rhyme or reason other than to tell Batman some cryptic message in a dream.
You have flying aliens that are supposedly from planet, Apokalips, which is allegedly a foreshadowing of what to expect in "Justice League." Batman does his own research to find out who Wonder Woman is, and he ends up discovering that there might be more meta humans out there besides Superman. Of course, Superman is still being put on trial in the court of public opinion, but one has to ask how does Clark feel about all this?
Sure, it's mentioned briefly that Clark does feel guilty about what happened in "Man of Steel", but it's rarely ever focused on in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." The relationship between him and Lois that was rushed in "Man of Steel" is practically an afterthought in this film. If anything, you rarely ever see these two spend a lot of time together in the movie. Granted, i don't expect this film to be a full blown love story like "Superman: The Movie" was, but I do expect it to give us a reason why these two love each other; outside of plot convenience. And because most of the film shows Superman being obsessed with trying to find out more about Batman, we never get a sense on how much the events of "Man of Steel" ever affected him as a character. If anything, you'd swear he was hardly phased by it because he rarely ever talks about it, and this is part of the problem.
Because we never go too deeply into this topic, we rarely ever get a sense of who Superman is half the time, or even how he feels, which makes it hard to relate to him as a character. This was the main issue I had with Doomsday killing off Superman in this film. Granted, Superman is my all time favorite superhero; second only to Spider-Man. However, that wasn't the reason why I was upset about the Doomsday thing. As my readers know, i could give two s***s less if they change the origin, or story line of certain characters, in these comic book films.
As long as they capture the key essential elements of the character, then I'm good. That's why I had zero issues with them changing Doomsday's origin. Hell, i don't even care if they want to kill off Superman. After all, the "Death of Superman" was arguably one of my all time favorite story arcs to read.
However, you want to know why that story arc worked so well in the comics? It's because people cared about Superman. Unlike most characters in comic books, Superman has been around for almost a century. He was one of the earliest superheroes ever conceived. Without him, there would be no "Deadpool", "Iron Man" and etc. He was always the gold standard. We're talking about a character that's been around for decades, who everyone loved and adored. That's why his death in comics meant something because everyone not only knew who Superman was, but it had meaning behind it. In this movie, Superman dies fighting Doomsday, but the emotional impact it has is nonexistent because Superman takes a backseat half the time to all the other exposition throughout the film.
Not to mention the fact that when Lois mourns his death, it doesn't have the same impact it had in the comics. Back in the comic book version, Lois was engaged to Superman. In fact, DC writers even admitted years later that they were going to marry them off, but they couldn't because the hit sitcom, "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman", demanded they don't marry off the characters until around the same time they did it. Therefore, they decided to kill him off, which left a bitter taste in a lot of fans mouths. But in this film, it doesn't hold up because in "Man of Steel" the romance between them was rushed, and "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" doesn't even attempt to explore their relationship. Therefore, when you see Lois Lane (Amy Adams) crying over Superman's death, you barely give a damn because the film itself never gives us a reason to care.
Cue in two acts of exposition, with pretentious dialogue and jokes that fall flat, and you end up with a boring movie. Apart from the action scenes and special effects, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is arguably one of the worst superhero films that I've ever seen.
Granted, Ben Affleck does an excellent job as Batman. Although I wouldn't say he's better than either Michael Keaton or Christian Bale, but he does a great job portraying the character. Gal Gadot wasn't horrible as Wonder Woman, but she wasn't great in the role either.
As for Henry Cavill, I have to say his performance felt flat in this movie. However, to be fair, I don't think most of it was his fault, as some of it seemed to be the lousy direction he was given to work with; along with a mediocre script. Here's an example of what I mean. At some point in the movie, Superman shows up to answer to the US government about possibly being a threat to humanity. However, Lex Luthor puts a bomb there, which kills everyone except for Superman. Sadly, Superman doesn't realize it in time, so everyone dies. Here's the problem.
At no point in the film does it establish why Superman never caught on in time. Sure, we can harp back to the ye old Superman films, where it was explicitly stated that Superman can't see through lead. However, this is a reboot, and we have to remember not everyone watching this film knows that this particular Superman can't see through lead. Maybe instead of showing us a pointless scene involving Cyborg's origin, they could've showed some exposition, where Lex finds out how Superman can't see through lead, and it would've made bombing scene work. But since they never do that, it just makes Superman look incompetent. And his emotionless reaction, after the explosion, only makes it obvious that Henry was standing in front of a freaking blue screen at the time.
As for Jesse Eisenberg, I can't say he was terrible in his role, but it seems like his portrayal of Lex was too cartoonish half the time to take seriously, which undermines the serious dark tone the rest of the story tries to establish. And to make matters worse, his motivations not only change constantly, but they don't even make any sense.
First, he comes off as a man that sees Superman as a threat to humanity, so he tries to expose him for the fraud he really is to the public, by setting him up (i.e. the bombing incident). But somehow this entire motivation makes him want to have Superman fight Batman, while he creates Doomsday. No idea how he plans to control Doomsday, but whatever. And to top it all off at the end, it's heavily implied that he might know Dark Side is coming to Earth? So does this mean this elaborate plot to frame and kill Superman was part of Luthor's plan to help Dark Side? Why the hell would Lex help him? Also, why the hell do you need Batman to fight Superman for this plan to work?
With so much exposition, it's amazes me how little this whole story makes little to no sense half the time.
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is arguably the biggest disappointment that I've seen since the first "Star Wars" prequel. Unless you're just a die hard fan, then I'd pass on this one completely. In fact, I'd recommend the checking out the three part episode in "Superman: The Animated Series" titled "World's Finest" instead if you want to know what a real crossover between Superman and Batman should've been like.
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© 2016 Steven Escareno
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