As a longtime DC fan, I have been eagerly anticipating the debut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for many reasons: Batman returns to the big screen, DC officially begin their Cinematic Universe, there are elements of The Dark Knight Returns in there, but perhaps the most important reason for anticipation is that the film is the first time we ever see the two biggest superheroes in the world clash on the big-screen. With all that riding on this film's release, DC put a lot of hype into the film's marketing campaign: Announcing it at Comic-Con, releasing a very well-received theatrical trailer, a controversial trailer and having the cast appear on major talk shows for months leading up to the release. Upon it's release, the film has garnered mixed reviews from critics, but as both Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill so eloquently put it: it wasn't made for the critics but the fans. And the fans responded well, as the film has raked in $424 million on it's opening weekend alone!
I had intended to write this article after watching the film on opening night, but it wasn't as easy as that. The film didn't give me a clean-cut answer because quite frankly, there was so much going on. I needed time to process everything I had just seen in order to form a real opinion on it. Thus, having recently seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, here is the perspective of one (maybe two, maybe three) longtime DC fan on whether the film lived up to the hype. The answer is...
Thus, here are my (non-spoiler) thoughts on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Set in the same universe as it's predecessor Men of Steel, it adopts the same grim tone which never falters throughout. However, it's so much more than just a grim film. As we could see in the trailers, the film was heavy on storyline with a strong emphasis on the fear of the unknown as it follows Batman/Bruce Wayne's quest to stop Superman, fearing what could happen to the planet if he ever became hostile. Although it takes its time getting to some of the points, the film is an enjoyable and action-packed thrill-ride with some unforgettable sequences! Furthermore, there are quite a few nods to some illustrious Batman and Superman lore in there too that many of the devoted comic-book fans (like myself) will definitely enjoy.
The cast do a great job at bringing their respective characters to life. Cavill and Adams pick up where they left off in Man of Steel by delivering strong performances yet again. However, the show is stolen by Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot as Batman and Wonder Woman. The newcomers to the franchise had no issues making us aware that they were here to stay. Without a doubt, Affleck silenced his critics by giving us the gritty, hardened veteran Batman from Frank Miller's comics and Gal Gadot delivered a strong and powerful performance that would make the incomparable Lynda Carter proud. She was one of the best things about the film! The surprise was Jesse Eisenburg as Lex Luthor - I knew he was going to be better than alot of people assumed, but he was downright electric in the role. And Jeremy Irons was perfect as Alfred and provided some much needed comic relief in a very dark film.
However, I think the film spent a little too long focusing on what might/what could happen in the future rather than what was happening in the present but it's lengthy run time did allow for that - even if it did make the plot a little disjointed. There was one scene in particular that I felt was kind of unneccessary.
Like I said, I went to see the film with two people who completely understand the genre and the mythology. Thanks to the reviews and the unusual representation of Lex Luthor, one of them had very low expectations - However, once those credits rolled, he was incredibly silent. I wondered if it was silent in a good way...and it it was. He was stunned to silence - Affleck exceeded his expectations as Batman and Jesse Eisenburg pleasantly suprised him as Luthor. This perhaps said more to me than any critic could - because if this film could have that profound an effect on one of it's most outspoken critics, well then it's a job well done. Furthermore, the other individual is a longtime Wonder Woman fan and found himself incredibly pleased with Gal Gadot's portrayal of the character, believing that it did the comics and Lynda Carter justice. What followed the film was a delightful evening of discussion over the films pros and cons and the exciting possibilities that could follow in the follow up films, particularly Suicide Squad and Justice League: Parts 1 and 2.
In conclusion, the film most definitely lived up to the hype. Aside from the pacing issues and the disjointed scenes in the first half, the film was a thrill-ride of epic proportions anchored by incredibly strong performances. Although like I said, it take take a little while to get into it, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice kept building and building until it eventually reached an incredible culmination that is sure to have the vast majority of comic-book fans very happy! And if this film is anything to go by, I can't wait to see more from DC's Cinematic Universe!
So if you're on the fence about the film after the critic reviews, you should most definitely go and see the film so you can make up your own mind. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a beautifully crafted, artisitically filmed and strongly acted piece that will really make you contemplate the issues and theories explored in the film. Oh...and it's downright EPIC! A solid 9 from this longtime Bat-Fan!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in theatres NOW!