This is it. It is the movie that is supposed to tell the story of arguably the greatest superhero conflict of all time. We've been waiting for this film for a few years now, and it is finally here. Did it hit the mark?
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is about a paranoid Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and his wanting to destroy the potential threat of Superman (Henry Cavill). His paranoia is not unwarranted, and the movie lets you know this. A lot of people in the country are beginning to question the merits of having a godlike alien being left unsupervised.
So, I'll start from the beginning. A few months ago, Warner Bros. released a trailer for this film that I thought revealed far too much. This on top of the announcements they'd already made about the cameos that were going to be in it, the subtitle (Dawn of Justice), and the news regarding all the movies that were going to be coming out in the future of this cinematic universe, this trailer really bummed me out. Feel free to watch at your own risk.
Anyway, so I already had a pretty solid idea about every major plot point of this film not through leaks or my prior comic book knowledge, but by official released trailers and news.
But, how does the movie stand on its own? I went in with very few expectations. I wanted an enjoyable movie with awesome visuals like Man of Steel, and I'd say that's what I got.
The big moments in this movie are really fun to watch. The fight sequences built up becoming very intense. They also improved on them from Man of Steel, as they're not as long or gratuitous. When the movie got to these extremely cool moments, all logic went out the window, for me, and I just enjoyed myself. The movie does show you a lot of visual content that many comic book fans will love seeing.
I also really liked the cast, for the most part, with Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman actually surprising me with how cool she wound up being. In fact, her small role was actually my favorite part of the movie. I did not, however, enjoy Jessie Eisenberg's Lex Luthor or Ben Affleck's Batman. This wasn't the fault of the actors at all. I think they played their parts well, but I didn't like these characters. This new version of Batman just comes off as very brutish and sadistic. I like seeing Batman kick ass, but I also need to see him use his wits and his mind. This Batman does not have that, and I think this was an attempt to distance this new version from the Nolan franchise. Still, a lot of the character is lost this way. Lex, on the other hand, is not actually Lex Luthor. He is actually Lex's son, which explains the different personality from previous versions of the character, but I just didn't like him. He's very jumpy, unstable, and not too bright. He was annoying, to me, and certainly not a surprising performance for Eisenberg who's known for playing socially awkward and strange types.
The story, told over a runtime of 2 hours and 31 minutes, is really nothing special. It falls apart with the least bit of thought, much like Man of Steel, which I could excuse if they'd keep the characters and motivations consistent, but they don't. Batman's entire motivation is developed mostly through weird dream sequences, a flashback, and dialogue that discusses how he's gotten to this low point. We never get to actually see real character development for one of the two contenders in this gladiator match. It's the same with Lex Luthor and LexCorp. They're just evil... because? Also, the pacing is really awful. There are some long-winded scenes in this movie that really bog down any kind of fun there could potentially be. The ending is probably the worst offender, as it is a seemingly 10 minute sequence that could have been cut down to 2 minutes. It's all to build up tension when there is none to be had in the first place. Of course, I can't elaborate on that point without spoiling it, so I won't.
Overall, this movie did what it needed to do. It sets up this cinematic universe in the most competent way possible. It suffers from a lack of suspense and empathy for characters that were not introduced well enough. I think this movie could have been a lot better had they made another Batman movie that showed his growing anger and frustration. Instead, the viewer is left with a really lifeless and rushed film that promises to do better next time. Sound familiar? Looking at you, MoS.
I say Stub It at matinee price. This movie does not lend itself to repeated viewings, but it's certainly something everyone should go to see simply because of the scale of it. It's an adequate movie, it's worth a few bucks to see on the big screen, but I definitely won't be helplessly awaiting the Blu-ray release.