After 3 years of waiting since the announcement at San Diego Comic Con in 2013, the iconic battle between two of the greatest heroes of all time has finally hit. And there is one question left to ask. Is it any good? Whilst most of the critics will tell you that this film is a complete abomination against cinema, I have a different opinion. Don't get me wrong, this film is quite a mess, but I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the vast majority of it, despite it's numerous flaws. Before we begin I want to mention this is a different type of review as the moviepilot review format is currently not working. Therefore, at the end of this review, I will be giving the film a letter grade that can be anything from an A+ to an F. Anyway, without further ado, lets begin.
Let me start with performances, because this film probably wouldn't be as good without Ben Affleck's portrayal of the conflicted vigilante, Batman (AKA Bruce Wayne). Affleck's performance felt extremely grounded and he gave us a damaged Wayne, making us believe in his motivations and playing a central part to several of the conflicts in the film, including the obvious conflict between Batman and Superman. Although Affleck was the standout performance of the film, I was also a big fan of the choice to cast Jeremy Irons as Alfred and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, AKA Wonder Woman. Whilst I didn't think she quite needed to be in the film, I thought she did a great job at honouring a beloved and classic character. Amy Adams' return as Lois Lane was respectable, although her character didn't do much for the film. I'm also quite a fan of Laurence Fishburne's Daily Planet chief editor, who brings some comedic relief to the film and just gives us a relatable and realistic performance, even though he is only briefly in the film. And as we've obiviously talked about one half of this film's leads, lets talk about the other half. And I'm sorry, I really am, but I just dont think Henry Cavill is a good actor. He's not terrible, and he definitely looks the part, he just doesn't carry the role with the presence it deserves and he often comes off as slightly boring.
There is one role, however, that really infuriated me. So much so, in fact, that I had to write a whole paragraph about it. This was that of Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor. This felt like Jesse Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg and Jim Carrey's Riddler had a baby, and that baby grew up and tried to do an impression of Heath Ledger's Joker, and just flopped. This character didn't feel like Lex Luthor at all, it felt like a cartoonish, annoying, and most disappointingly not menacing Scooby-Doo villain. Every time he came on screen he took the dialogue he was given, which was actually quite impressive, and butchered it with ridiculous twitches and vocal changes that just sounded odd. His cringe-worthy performance was actually probably my least favourite part of the entire film.
I must say though, Zack Snyder knows how to make a film look good. This film was, at times, visually breathtaking, mixing the real and surreal through stylish CGI and some really great production and costume design. It was really a marvel to look at, no pun intended. Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL also managed to produce an epic and ear-pleasing score that perfectly complimented the glorious superhero battles and the darker moments aswell. The Wonder Woman electric guitar riff was a personal favourite, even if it felt a little bit cheesy. The dialogue was mainly solid, with some thought-provoking lines and interesting character exchanges. I did feel like I was constantly coming across lines of dialogue that I had heard in the previous trailers though, which did make me lose the element of excitement just a tiny bit.
But what about the plot? I will say, for the most part, it lives up to the Batman V Superman name, but in a way that is much more political and less action-driven that one would have thought. This film does however, have about 3 or 4 different film plots crammed into one, which is where, for me, it falls flat. If this movie stayed as a conflict between it's two main characters, i think it would have been a pretty great comic-book film. In fact, if Zack Snyder just made a straight-up adaptation of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, it probably would have ended up being a far superior movie. Instead, he tried to stuff in tons of set up for the upcoming Justice League films, which is entirely unneeded and doesn't fit with the rest of the film, making the film feel like such a mess. There were alot of films that could have been made before this, such as Wonder Woman and Man of Steel 2. If these films were made first, they wouldn't need to cram all the Justice League stuff in our faces and the film would be able to stand on it's own two feet much more.
On the other hand, I enjoyed most of this movie. The first two acts were very interesting and had me fairly gripped, but once the Batman V Superman was over and the Dawn of Justice began, the movie purely started to fall flat for me, contradicting itself a few times and creating plot holes everywhere. If you saw the second trailer for the film, you already know the climax of the films, which would have been a much a better reveal if it wasn't spoiled for me by said trailer. But, I have to say, Doomsday looked shit. Not to be informal, but the CGI they used for Doomsday was pretty shit. The fanboys were right, he really did look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle from the most recent films, and that is in no way an overstatement. He would definitely fit in those Michael Bay vehicles. Seriously though, the movie was fairly well-crafted until the third act, which was ultimately a big ol' CGI splat on my IMAX screen.
Overall, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is messy and overstuffed, but by no means a bad film. The actual fight was far too short, but impressively well done, as was most of the action (especially one badass Batman scene). Alot of it looked like it had been pulled straight from the pages of The Dark Knight Returns, which was a really cool homage and love letter to comic books from Snyder. Alot of the Justice League set up scenes felt short and unnecessary, but they weren't frequent enough to completely destroy the film. And I actually disagree with all the critics who have said this film was completely joyless and hopeless, as I think there were moments where I felt hope for the future of the DCEU and there was a joke here and there, but not enough to affect the overarching tone of the film. The film is one that I can't say I didn't enjoy, but can't say it didn't have major issues either, so I'm gonna say it was just kind of okay and I would suggest it to anyone who is a fan of the source material.
So what did you think of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice? Did you enjoy it? Are you excited for the future of the DCEU? Make sure to let me know in the comments and come back to my profile for more reviews like this one if you enjoyed it.