Once again, spring time has forced me to be away from this page for a while. However, today I am back with a review with one of the biggest movies of the year: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Sitting in the theater Sunday night, I anticipated the movie that has been troubling me for the past couple of years. Various arguments with fellow movie lovers and friends have made me question where I sat with this movie. I had relatively low expectations for this movie. It felt like they were only making this movie because DC needs to catch up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that and other complaints I had about the lead up to this movie, I went into with an open mind and a hope that it would be good. And now that I have seen it, the immediate feeling I had was that it was a Michael Bay film.
Since I was unable to see this movie until Sunday, I had heard a few grumblings about it. I had heard that the story was lacking yet the action was good. In my opinion, the story was jammed with too much DC Universe building mixed with combining two notable stories. The action is acceptable but is nothing remarkable. The best part of the entire movie is the fact that is visually pleasing in almost every scene. Compared to Man of Steel, there was more contrasting colors that balanced the movie out somewhat from the depressing tone. Every fight scene was entertaining to watch, especially the one from the last trailer with Batman. They were gritty and realistic in regards to how the people partaking in them would actually combat their adversaries. Ben Affleck exceeded my expectations as Bruce Wayne/Batman, however he is not comparable to Michael Keaton or Christian Bale. It was a different take on the character which makes it difficult to do a direct comparison, but it simply is not as good. To me, that is more of the writing and direction of the character rather than Affleck’s performance. My favorite performance in this entire movie is Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White. His character is a minor one but helps advance the tension between Wayne and Kent. Henry Cavill was allowed to say more than 50 words in this movie but I still think it was below 150. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman seems like a great casting. She feels crammed into the movie though, which is disappointing. Then there is Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. For this non spoiler review, I am going to leave it at this: why was Cranston not casted? Overall the acting and action scenes are good in this movie. All of the problems lie with the production of the movie. It was poorly edited, included things that made the movie way too long, and had decisions that ruined good momentum. Not to mention that the marketing team for Warner Brothers might have hurt their profits after opening weekend since everyone who saw the movie has been saying the trailer is the movie. From here, I will be talking spoilers. If you have not seen the movie, I suggest you go see it before continuing on.
Oh boy, where to start? I made a mention about how they attempted to cram two major plotlines from the comics into this movie. The fight between Batman and Superman should have been the only thing this movie should have included. Instead, we get the Doomsday killing Superman storyline as well. This was completely pointless in my opinion. Unless a person is truly clueless about Superman, DC comics, news about upcoming movies, or how Hollywood works, the death scene is a drawn out process that will ultimately result in nothing. Almost everybody knew that Superman will not remain dead. If they really wanted to kill Superman, they should have revived him within the context of the movie. The ending with the dirt rising was an ill-advised one. Simply show the audience what they know is about to happen in the next movie. There does not need to be this dramatic process of the funerals and crying for a death that has no real emotional value since he is not dead. Similar to the first X-Men trilogy, nobody believes that a major character will remain dead. The last ten minutes of the movie was almost insufferable. It is similar to someone force feeding you food that you know is going to make physically sick. You are waiting for the inevitable to happen because you know it’s going to happen. Back to the combination of the two stories though. What this movie needed was another two years. In those two years, DC and Warner Brothers could have released an actual sequel to Man of Steel and a solo Batman movie with Ben Affleck that sets up the tension for the two fighting. This movie could have been a great one if they did not have to handle so many responsibilities where they lose sight of making the movie great for the original premise. Instead, the first hour of the movie is rushing a storyline about how Wayne does not trust Superman while the rest of the world is attempting to figure out if his good balances the cost. They could have done the congressional hearings and hoopla in a sequel which then leads Batman to deciding that he has to take matters into his own hands. Then, the movie would be able to balance the tasks of setting up the Justice League and allowing the two titans to fight.
This movie pissed me off within the first five minutes. Before they jump to Bruce Wayne’s perspective of the Metropolis catastrophe (which was amazing), the movie gives us another showing of Thomas and Martha Wayne being murdered. Why? I realize that they utilized this to set up the most anticlimactic moment of a fight later in the movie but still. At this point, we do not need to see his parents being shot. If you want that “Martha” moment, simply show Bruce at the tombstone of his parents and take a focused shot of the name “Martha Wayne.” It would save the movie run time to develop other storylines along with salvaging audiences from witnessing a moment that is not needed. Captain America: Civil War better not have Uncle Ben dying in the opening scenes or I might lose it.
Since I mentioned Martha, let me discuss the most ridiculous plot device in the movie. Batman is about to stab Superman with a spearhead made from kryptonite when boy wonder whispers the name Martha, who is his mother (convenient that both of their mothers are Martha). Instead of stabbing him as one would most likely do, Batman freezes and wonders why Superman would utter Martha. Then Lois Lane comes in like Randy Orton to answer Batman’s cries, stating that Martha is Superman’s mother. Once again, why? I understand that this ties into Lex kidnapping Martha and using it as leverage to force Superman to kill Batman (or fly into Batman’s trap). However, they ruin a fantastic battle because the two have a mother with the same name. Not to mention the fact that when Superman initials arrives to where Batman is waiting, he attempts to tell him about the situation at hand and Batman hears none of it. So why would a simple whisper prevent him from stabbing the alien that he hates? Also, after he hears that Superman’s mother is in danger, Batman is now suddenly pals with Superman. It is these type of moments where story and substance kills a movie. After an hour and a half of seeing Bruce Wayne hate Superman and train to take him out, he simply forgets all of that because of a mother. Even the TV Lego Justice League movies on Cartoon Network have Batman remain cautious with Superman. In a dark and gritty movie like this, why is it “oh your mother is in danger, I got you. Sorry about almost killing you five seconds ago?” It simply does not make any sense. Even if Superman would make the appeal to Batman about his mother, the rage would not prevent him from killing Superman. If anything, the rage would cause his to finish the job, not think rationally.
While most of the acting was actually quite good, there was one person who did not live up to the character he was portraying. Jessie Eisenberg was not a good decision to play Lex Luthor. I hold nothing against the actor himself or his actual performance. If this was a villain in a different movie, then it would be quite good. However, the source material and what was on screen did not match up at all. Luthor is supposed to be the intellectual equal to Superman’s strength. At what point in the movie was that ever established? I realize that Luthor’s plots trap Superman in poor positions, help fuel Batman’s rage, and created Doomsday (more on that later), but his intelligence never felt real. His plan felt more as a series of coincidences rather than a laid out plan. Even when he explains himself at the end, it felt forced rather than a naturally reveal that had any effect. The portrayal of Superman’s greatest villain was a poor one at best. It was the direction of the character that failed the movie, not the actor playing the role. However, if Warner Brothers casted Cranston or another older, grizzled actor, then they could not have gone the zany route. Lex Luthor is Dawn of Justice deserved a spot in the Joel Schumacher Batman movie.
From one disappointing villain to another, Doomsday was used a device to forge the thrown together Justice League. Once again, why waste a great villain on an insignificant part? Doomsday is one of Superman’s greatest physical adversaries with a neat origin story. However, this movie merely makes him a Luthor creation to kill Superman. I could live that if they made him visually look accurate to the comics and good. Well, they made Doomsday look like the gray brother of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That abomination was a CGI mess. How was that the final adaptation of the monster that they decided on? I was hoping that the footage we saw of him in the trailer was an early form before he mutated to adapt or a rough work that they threw out to gain attention. Unfortunately I was wrong. Now Doomsday has been wasted in this universe as that monster who unified Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Hooray.
During the build up to the movie, news was breaking that the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg would have appearances/cameos in this movie. Many were curious about how they would introduce these characters in the cluster of other things that this film had to set up. I was worried that there would not be enough time or proper way to introduce these characters to the universe in a movie that was looking to be four hours long. How did DC solve this question? They introduced them in an e-mail! That was anticlimactic. Honestly, I thought the security footage of the Flash was cool. I wish it was presented in a different way (maybe in the scene where Batman stole the kryptonite that they did not show) but it was a good clip to introduce the character. Aquaman’s clip was alright; I did not hate it but there probably was a few better clips they could have chosen. Then there is Cyborg’s footage. Instead of an action sequence, his clip was his creation essentially. Ray Fisher does not act or perform in his cameo, simply has his head and part of his upper torso on wall while Cyborg’s father records himself attempting to save his son. Not only is that a waste of a cameo, it nullifies the potential for an origin story for Cyborg. His creation was covered in fifteen seconds, who needs an hour and a half movie. The handling of these cameos was poor. They could have done something that was effective and gripping, but instead gave us Wonder Woman reading an e-mail.
I know I have ripped this movie for the majority of the review, but it was not all bad. However, the good does not nearly come close to outweighing it. To me, this was a bad movie. It was not enjoyable to watch a good idea turn into waste. The fight scenes were entertaining, but there was no reason to be invested in them. DC needs to rethink Snyder directing the upcoming Justice League movie. DC has screwed themselves though. Instead of being patient and developing a strong universe with the better characters (compared to Marvel), they rushed it. The entire movie feels like a rush job. In almost every moment of the movie, you can feel the sweat of rush that must have been felt in making this movie. It is a good thing Warner Brothers blinked when Disney-Marvel challenged them; after opening weekend, Captain America: Civil War would have brutalized them at the box office.
That is my very pointed review about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. For those who have seen the movie, what did you think of it? Start a discussion in the comments below to tell me your thoughts about the movie or how much you hate my opinion. You can read more of my stuff at moviepilot.com/talktmoviestome and follow my hoping to become more active Twitter account @talkmoviestome. Thank you all for reading, and I hope see you back on my page.