Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (2016) Movie Review
Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
You’d think that after 57 false starts the (finally) finished Batman V Superman Needlessly Long Title would end up better than a 2.5 hour noisy but soulless trailer to the upcoming Justice League movie. The film’s not as horrid as a good portion of the reviews are indicating, but even the its staunchest defenders can’t help but feel that the finished product should be lot better considering the talent involved.
How does BVS compare to the Marvel assembly line? At this stage in time, not favorably. Man of Steel and BVS seem like unfinished works, where the possibility of a great movie existed but was just buried under empty spectacle.
Whereas the Marvel fast food machine has the formula down: Inconsequential, predictable entertainment with forgettable, disposable villains where no individual movie has to be great as long as it feeds $$$ into the Marvel empire (thanks Thor 2, Iron Man 2).
At least in these 2 DC movies, people die and there’s actual suspense generated. Plus, you don’t have to watch dull episodes of Agents of Shield.
BVS makes me a little less hopeful for summer’s Suicide Squad (Will Smith can‘t really help. Look how his presence neutered I Am Legend), or at least keep my already lowered expectations tempered to a vanilla level.
I can’t imagine what the rumored “unrated” cut of BVS would look like because BVS would have been better with subtraction, rather than addition.
BVS opens with Bruce Wayne’s parents getting killed for the 50th time onscreen (“With great power, comes some sort of responsibility”). After Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan, did the filmmakers somehow think we’d forget that yes, Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed an alley? It doesn’t seem like they’re really dead because they keep being shown in flashback every ducking movie.
We then awkwardly transition into the finale of Man of Steel, where Metropolis and Gotham are both being wrecked by Zod and Supes. Little did we know that a growed-up Bruce Wayne (Ben “Matt Damon” Affleck) was watching the destruction the whole time and one of his buildings was leveled as well as “Dozens Killed”. Actually, Wayne got off light with only dozens, considering how torn up Metropolis was.
Oh, and did you know that Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed in an alley when he was a boy? That’s why he’s so glum. Sad face emoji.
Bruce Wayne is now miffed at Superman. Real rage- not fanboy rage like when Affleck got cast as Batman. Mad face emoji.
Meanwhile, people are now hating on Supes because he’s an alien with superpowers who could destroy us all if he felt like it. I think this is symbolic of the white man’s fear of huge black dinosaurs.
At least Supes has a girlfriend Lois Lane (Amy Adams, fulfilling her sequel obligation as the script tries to give her something to do but fails- Scarlett Johansson knows exactly how you feel) who is the only one that knows he is also Clark Kent.
There’s this pointless subplot involving Holly Hunter as a Senator (work is work, I guess) and a Professor Xish wheelchair.
To further bog down the proceedings, Lex Luthor (toothlessly played by Jesse Eisenberg) will try to pit Batman and Superman against each other in ways that strain credulity. Keep in mind that this is taking place in a movie where a guy flies around in cape and red tights and a billionaire spends most of his time with an elderly “butler”.
Oh, and there’s this tall, leggy woman (Gal Gadot) who keeps popping up randomly. We wonder who she is. Get it? Wonder. Because it’s Wonder Woman. This isn’t a spoiler because it’s in the effing trailer.
What Works With Batman V Superman
- At least this isn’t My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. 2 Girls 1 Cup deserves a sequel more than this dreck. Maybe they can combine Paul Blart and the Greeks to make another movie certain people will enjoy. By “certain“, I mean dim
- Despite its many weaknesses, BVS wears its 2.5 hour running time relatively well as nowhere do feel lag like you did in last year’s stillborn Spectre or the disappointing Mockingjay finale. Director Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead remake- still his best movie) may be somewhat of a hack, but unlike Michael Bay at least his action sequences have some sense of coherence. Still, you can’t help but remember that Christopher Nolan did it so much better.
- Ben Affleck makes Batman his own and easily distinguishes himself from Christian Bale (still the best Batman) only 3.5 years later. You hope Affleck gets his own The Dark Knight before his contract is up as he’s way better than the film he’s in right now. Come to think about it, the scenes between Affleck and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred are the very best in the movie.
- Completely Hawkeye free.
Works Doesn't Work With Superman V Batman
- Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor as a frat boy, and there’s nothing really scary about the character. The worst thing you can see his Lex doing is drugging you, violating you, and then posting it online. He’s about as terrifying as a Facebook rant. He’s a great actor, but clearly out of his element. Halle Eisenberg seems better cast.
- Henry Cavill spends his (thankfully) shortened screen time looking like he ate cottage cheese that’s 72 hours past its expiration date. Every time Superman is onscreen, you wish Batman was onscreen. It’s not his fault he has nothing interesting to play.
- A laughably lazy transition into the Justice League by way of…Email??? Not even a Skype session?
- Doomsday- Looks like A) A WETA reject from those unnecessary Hobbit Movies B) Something Guillermo Del Toro laughed at before throwing out while making Pacific Rim C) the fecal demon from Dogma.
- It’s all of the above
- Martha, Martha, Martha- Easily the most unintentionally funny scene of the year
See it. It’s not that bad, I guess. A part of you wants to see it just to whine about it anyway. If you don’t like it, you’ll just see Captain America 3: Iron Spider Man where nothing of import will happen except adding 5 new characters complete with trailers for those characters’ movies. I think they introduce Black Sidekick in this one.