Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been the topic of a lot of criticism from both fans and film critics. The critics chimed in first after early film screenings, listing the film's pacing issues and seriousness as a cause for concern. Meanwhile, after Thursday premiere shows, comic book fans gave generally mixed reviews themselves, some enjoy the film's stunning action while others hesitantly agree with the critics.
Well I am one of the many, who got to view Dawn of Justice in all of it's greatness on Thursday, and since I consider myself a film critic AND a comic book fan, I felt I'd be the perfect person to chime in and examine the flaws and positives of the film. While my fellow critics seemed to put the film on a hot plate by oozing out all of its cons, I tried to go into the film with an open mind.
Being a comic book fan can be hard sometimes. We love to see our favorite heroes played by great actors and given great scripts but sometimes it doesn't always work out that way. But we have to stand behind our characters, and be the voices of reason between general moviegoers and critics. We have to acknowledge the flawed system of our favorite genre, if we want the films to continue to grow. That being said here are a few of the biggest CONS of Batman V. Superman.
*WARNING SPOILERS BELOW*
Bruce Wayne's Origin
Can someone count out how many times we've seen Thomas and Martha Wayne die on screen? If you include animated series and shows like Gotham, the number has to be pretty high. The fact that this film starts with the death of Wayne's parents, even though our Batman is well into his middle age, is kind of cliche' to say it nicely. I understand Zack Snyder has to develop some background for the character but it's just like the Uncle Ben, Aunt May complaint of the Spiderman films. We all know what happens to them, do we really need to see it all over again?
Okay, maybe this was just a small personal issue, lets get to the big stuff.
Here is arguably the biggest overall complaint about the film from both comic book fans and critics. A film with so much to lose and so much anticipation, should not have issues with continuity and subsequent rushing. The film bounces back and forth from scenes like it's just a summary of its plot, while at the same time having a running time that would make Peter Jackson go "I think you're going a bit long,".
Before the audience is able to completely grasp a scene, we are thrown into another, that may or may not have been completely explained. This is where Zack Snyder's directing style comes into play. This is one of the same issues that Man of Steel faced: a plot with tone but little depth. Had the plot been slowed down a little to allow for more dissecting, this minor backlash the film is receiving could have been avoided.
In Synder's defense, he had more than enough material to work with and no one truly knows what kind of pressure Warner Bros. was putting on him to make sure everything was accounted for. At least he managed to touch on every topic, even if he didn't have the opportunity to delve deeper.
I want to be one of the first to praise Jesse Eisenberg for his performance as Lex Luthor. He was menacing, annoying, and corrupted a deadly combination when it comes to comic book villains, but was he Lex Luthor?
Superman fans specifically complain that he was not completely true to his character. They're saying he was too comical and was more of a wacko than the confident businessman Luthor is in known to be in the comics.
That's actually not my problem with Lex, people have to understand that DC went a different direction by making Eisenberg Lex Luthor Jr. He is not regulated to the personality traits of Lex Luthor, this is a new character all-together. That being said, I don't think we got to see enough of him. This is surprising because DC usually does a superb job of giving background to its villains, so the audience understands and sometimes even sympathizes with them.
Unfortunately in this case, Luthor comes off as a spoiled millennial, eager to spend his fathers money on something random. If we had simply been given some character backstory this could have put Lex Luthor Jr. in the upper-echelon of comic book villains. The substance was there, but where was the reason?
Doomsday is probably one of the most powerful foes we've ever seen in a comic book film. Coming from someone who knows nothing about the character: I was legitimately worried for our heroes, and I still am. I actually have no complaints about doomsday except for the fact that there was little to no real reasoning for his creation.
This honestly concludes my issues with the film from a comic book and a critics perspective, I believe any other issues may be subjective to individual viewers. Now lets get to the fun stuff, the PROS!
Absolutely no one can complain about the acting in this film, from Eisenberg to Affleck to Fishburne everyone did a superb job at their roles. The stand out performances for me, were Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, and Amy Adams. Like most fans are stating, Batfleck has the potential to be the best Bruce Wayne we have ever seen on screen. He's battered, emotional, and simply doesn't give a **** about enemies living anymore.
Eisenberg wittily dove into the mind of a maniac who was both frightening and entertaining. Adams continued her dominance of the Lois Lane role, showing compassion for Clark Kent while also portraying emotional discomfort.
Overall I give the cast a B in the acting category, very impressive for a comic book film.
Ladies and gentlemen, as I mentioned above, we may have the best portrayal of Bruce Wayne EVER on our hands. Not only has Batfleck given us a Bruce Wayne we've never seen before, he also gives us a strong, undeterred Batman that's not afraid to get his hands dirty. This is the Batman fans deserve.
I for one, cannot wait to see more of him in Suicide Squad and the rumored Ben Affleck directed Batman film DC recently announced. I'm eager to see how this fueled Batman, deals with villains as opposed to the heroic Batman we've seen in the past.
Batman gets an A-.
Amazing Action Scenes
I don't think anyone in their right mind would complain about the action in this film. From Batman breaking legs in the desert to Superman tackling terrorists through walls, we got a little bit of everything, not to mention the next thing on this list. The combat sequences in this film were spare but the sequences we got, were choreographed excellently and grabbed the audiences attention by the throat.
Action gets a solid A.
Right on time for the holiday, Batman V. Superman gave us some amazing Easter eggs, and most were completely unexpected. I mean if someone had told me going into the movie that I'd get to see Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash I'd undoubtedly scoff at them. I mean the amount of screen time wonder woman got was exciting enough but we basically got the entire Justice League in this film (sorry green lantern). Fans have to be happy about that.
It'll take me a second viewing to capture some of the other Easter eggs, but I'm sure some of my fellow MP writers were able to catch them all.
The Easter Eggs get an easy A.
Step aside black widow and hit-girl we've got the most bad-ass super heroine ever portrayed right before our eyes. This film beautifully built up anticipation for the Wonder Woman film that's headed to theaters in June of next year. Gal Gadot has a powerful yet elegant presence that actually rivals that of Batman and Superman. Her armor and weapons are uniquely powerful and with them she basically saved the day in this film.
Wonder Woman gets an A+.
While my list of Cons is short, they are extremely important for the success of any comic book film. Pace is what makes your audience feel involved. Consistency is the key to retaining your audience. Character development should be concise but not routine. And antagonists need depth in order for them to truly be an obstacle worth displaying. While these flaws will keep Batman V. Superman from being perfect they DO NOT stop the film from being great.
In its own right it successfully launched DC's extended universe and is just their second film. Let's not forget, when Marvel was at this stage of the MCU they released The Incredible Hulk arguably the worst film of their entire universe, so it takes time to perfect these things. There is hope, that like Marvel, DC will continue to get better with every release, and true comic book fans will stick around for every step of the way.
All in all, to my comic book fans I say rejoice, we have yet another successful film on our hands and to my fellow critics I say, ease up.