Back in 2013, Warner Brothers gave us a surprise that shook the world and made fanboys all over the world shiver in pure excitement. The announcement that the two most iconic characters in comic book history would go head to head in a movie for the ages. Henry Cavill's Man of Steel to go up against Ben Affleck's Dark Knight. Since then, the film has been one huge build up and in that time I just wanted to see the film so badly. As a huge Bats and Supes fan, this movie needed to be good, it just did. I got a chance to catch it last night at the midnight premiere and I'm not all that happy. Mainly because it actually did have some elements I really liked, which makes me think this film had some serious potential.
**No major spoilers ahead**
1. The score
First and foremost, let's talk about the score. The legendary Hans Zimmer is here with Junkie XL and the pair create something absolutely beautiful. I was delighted to hear some of the Man of Steel soundtrack, which is still one of my favorites ever and now we get this stellar album too. From the bad-ass drums of 'Do You Bleed' all the way to the scarily daunting, 'The Red Capes Are Coming', Hans Zimmer totally nails the score, by far one of the best elements of the movie.
The thing about a score though is how much can you credit the movie for such a thing? Hans Zimmer electrified this movie with his score where in some scenes it might not have been as memorable without his score. This means a lot of the praise for this movie needs to go in the German's name, who kept the intensity brewing in this movie.
2. The Batmobile
My second element of praise for this movie comes in the form of the highly anticipated, Batmobile. I must say I was extremely satisfied how they did the driving with the iconic vehicle in this film. Batman flew through the streets of Gotham with pure tenacity and he doesn't look like a world champion F1 racer, which should be the case!
The driving scenes look like they were taken straight out of Rocksteady's Arkham Knight. Batman is frustrated and he drives that way, nobody to stop him, he is above the law. The damage on the Batmobile can be seen too which was a nice touch, I thought. The Batmobile was definitely one of the better moments in the film for me anyway.
3. The Batman
If you haven't seen the movie yet, the thing you're probably most anxious about is, "Is Ben Affleck good?" The answer, from me, is a total yes. I loved every scene he was in, I thought he made a fantastic Batman and a solid Bruce Wayne. He had the brooding brutality I wanted in the Dark Knight and the confident swagger of Bruce Wayne. He utilized stealth more so in this movie than in the previous on screen versions, which is a big plus for me, I always wanted to see more of that side from Batman.
One aspect of this Batman I thoroughly enjoyed is his fighting. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is my all time favorite movie, but one thing that never quite won it for me was the hand-to-hand-combat. I always felt it was a little tame. This Batman, however, is a totally different ball game. You can tell each punch meant something and you could feel the agony of every single guy he attacked. This is a cruel, unforgiving Batman we're dealing with here, one we haven't seen on this big screen yet..
This Batman is not for the faint of heart though; he is tough, he is brutal, but he is Batman. He's been in the game for 20 years and he looks quite fed up just as Superman comes along and it doesn't help the worn out man. I can't wait for a stand-alone Batman movie, hopefully directed by Ben Affleck himself. Zack Snyder can sit this one out.
4. Actors' chemistry
The last thing that stuck out as something I enjoyed about the movie is the chemistry between the cast in this movie. I loved the scenes where we saw Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Diana Prince. The chemistry between Ben Affleck (Bruce) and Gal Gadot (Diane) was especially good. There was an air of mystery between them that I'd like to see more of in the future.
Clark Kent and Lois Lane's relationship wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. Amy Adam's role as Lois Lane was quite scattered and never fully clicked (through no fault of her own). However, the chemistry between the Daily Planet team was quite enjoyable to watch, seeing the reporter banter take place between everybody, especially the humorous, Perry White played by Laurence Fishburne.
1. The editing
This point is mainly for the final third of the movie where the editing and the movie itself is just a mess. There are times when the editing cuts just don't make any sense and sometimes you're genuinely just left confused. The first half was a nice slow burn that I was enjoying until the whole last third is squeezed, rushed and totally cut to disaster. At one point it became almost frustrating to watch not fully knowing what the hell was going on.
In contrast to the likes of Man of Steel, which was well paced and balanced out, this movie had that going on at the start and just threw it all at the wall to get in a 'memorable' action third of the movie, which it just wasn't.
2. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Look, I wasn't fond of this casting decision when it was first made, but that doesn't mean I went in there hating him already (despite his trailer impressions I hated). I decided, "hey, the way he is in the trailer might just be a persona for the public, maybe he's not actually that intolerable". I was 100% wrong, he was intolerable. In the cinema where I saw this, you could hear groans every time this dude was on screen, he was just catastrophic.
Why, you ask? Well there are some Jesse Eisenberg roles I liked where I thought if he acted the same way, we might get a good Lex Luthor, like in Now You See Me or The Social Network. We got neither. Instead we got Jesse Eisenberg doing a bad impression of Jesse Eisenberg. His flamboyancy and uncertainty in himself was exhausting to watch, I just despised him really. At best, his performance was cringe-worthy to watch. Maybe he can totally change for the next movie, if not, Warner Brothers have a real problem on their hands.
3. The CGI
I'll be honest, I thought Doomsday was going to look worse, judging by the trailer, but he wasn't as bad as I feared. So that isn't the CGI I have a problem with. The problem I have with the CGI is the fight against Doomsday.. It looks like a cartoon and not even in a good way, it was totally muddled and looked tiring to my eyes (and I didn't see 3D). Zack Snyder is going for a grounded, realistic world but you can't achieve that when the fight scene is almost difficult to watch.
To be honest, they shouldn't have had Doomsday in the movie. It's like the writers are trying to play catch-up with Marvel by mashing 4 films into one here. The first third is a good movie, the second third is kind of messy with some glimmers of hope and the final third is just too much set-up for the Justice League without thinking of the consequences for the movie we're watching. Warner Brothers need to be patient and not rush The Justice League.
4. The lore
Zack Snyder and the team who made this movie have as much right to make their stamp on these superheroes as a comic book writer does, but there gets a point when you change too much and it just doesn't sit well. Check out my points which are spoilers below or continue to the next point of the article.. (excuse the rant)
For one, Batman doesn't kill! He had guns everywhere?! Look, I liked the decision for Superman to kill General Zod in Man of Steel, that was cool, but stop trying to change the lore to leave you're mark on the heroes! Batman doesn't have guns and he sure as hell doesn't kill. I know this is a pissed of Bruce Wayne, but damn it don't make him kill so many people. Secondly, how they created Doomsday just isn't right, you can cite all the comics you want to me about how it's possible, but it was all to convenient for Lex Luthor and more so the writers of this movie to make it happen. Finally, what the hell with the Superman death. I mean, I know he didn't actually die, but this is why I'm annoyed.. The build up to his death was huge, people on the streets, etc. The fact that this was so heartfelt and poignant means that the day he actually dies in the movies, it wont be as prominent! A huge moment wasted for a dumb, Christopher Nolan rip-off ending. Stop trying too hard to leave your mark, Zack Snyder.
- The fight wasn't bad, didn't live up for me
- Wonder Woman (would like to see more)
- Other DC hero revealings were bland
- Nightmare scenes were overdone
- Alfred was fantastic
- Costumes were on point
- Few more jokes (not in a Marvel way)
- Bat-Cave was great
Zack Snyder has got to go, he is trying too damn hard to leave his mark on this universe. Trying to squeeze in too many controversial things to try and be remembered and it's just backfiring. I always preferred DC to Marvel, but the MCU is kicking DC's ass right now and Warner Bros. has got to sit down and rethink for the Justice League. Suicide Squad looks great, so maybe that can do some good.
Overall, I'm pretty disappointed in this movie. There are some aspects I really loved which makes it harder that this film wasn't great. The potential was there to have something special and it was thrown away. It's plagued with flaws with some glimmers of the future. We can only guess now until Justice League opens November next year.
One thing I will say is to the critics saying it's not fun, don't listen, that's a silly complaint about the movie, the first half is intense, compelling and sure it's not Marvel, but they got to separate from them somehow. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and let's get discussing!