***SPOILERS FOR THE FILM BATMAN V SUPERMAN LAY WITHIN THIS POST***
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is a film I've been waiting to see for years, even that billboard poster in I Am Legend gave me a glimmer of hope that never diminished. So to say I was excited when I sat down in my local cinema to watch this film, is a mild understatement to say the least.
This film had an immense build up prior to it's release and had fans across the globe declaring this to be the greatest superhero film to grace our screens. Superman looked amazing, Batman looked phenomenal, Wonder Woman looked bad-ass, and the general consensus amongst fans of the books and fans of the big screen was, "This film looks amazing". The only parts that had people a little worried were, Lex Luther and the early glimpse at Doomsday.
The closer we all got to the release date, the more peoples anticipation grew and everyone's excitement levels began supercharged will all the teases at character inclusion, and the potential set up for a larger Cinematic DC universe. Not to mention the resounding praise and faith both the studio, and the films creators expressed towards Ben Affleck's Batman.
Then it happened, the film was released with a shocking low rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics and fans began to turn on a film that everyone had been waiting so long to enjoy. As it turned out, this monolithic film had left a taste in many viewers mouths, a taste akin to that of Granny's peach tea.
The film itself as a whole, was beautiful display of stunning visuals and plentiful fight scenes that paid homage to many inspirational stories from DC's epic back catalogue. I cannot praise Ben Affleck enough for his role in this film, his Batman and Bruce Wayne personified a man that had been pushed past his breaking point, and despite this world Superman being melancholic and equally as dark and grim, this Dark Knight still shone through all of the mundane, and drab meta-human politics that plague this world.
Whatever views and opinion's you've taken from this film, it has done something amazing in this day and age, this film has divided fans right down the middle into lovers and haters. But more than that, it has invoked such passion and fervour that's sparked an international debate. Everyone who voices their view seems to be met with a slightly different take on each scene - from various points of view on the messages being delivered in each scene, to rage and annoyance at the sheer amount of threads crammed into this picture.
We live in a society where everyone with an internet connection is a self appointed critic on everything, myself included, although I try to focus more on the positive in an endless sea of negativity. But sometimes there is no clear right and wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion after all, and sometimes a film can just leave you so confused and baffled, that it takes multiple viewings to calm to voices in your head (or am I the only one who hears them?).
This film had the makings to set up the larger DC cinematic universe perfectly, the opening scenes alone, where we see Bruce Wayne dealing with the battle in Metropolis was fantastic, I loved seeing it from another perspective. But as the film picked up speed and moved on, it became over crowded with plot lines (ish), and characters being shoved in at random times.
The film became rapidly busy and erratic, it became more about setting up the DC universe than it did about telling this particular story. The people making this film seemed to lose sight of what they were doing at the time and focused to much on what's to come, leaving one of the most anticipated films of our time, to fall victim to playing catch up with Marvel.
Dream sequences were relied on heavily in the first half of the film that left many people in the audience confused and irritable, most of which were done with no prior explanation or build up for casual fans, which left me feeling that this was more tailored for fans of the source material without enough explanation for the casual fans. My brother even said he wouldn't have gotten half the references or plot points if he didn't have me there to explain them to him.
I can't help but feel the nightmare sequence and The Flash travelling back through time would've made a lot more sense if it was placed at the end of the film, that way Lex's "He's hungry" quote would've made a little more sense after everything, and fan's would've had a little more insight into who the mysterious red time traveller was, after they had seen his CCTV footage, not before.
The inclusion/introduction to some of the other members of the Justice League failed to live up to my impossible expectations given the build up with promoting this film, but excited me none the less for the potential this new world has. My one hope for when we reach Justice League Part One, is that this world DC are building will finally view some of our beloved characters as heroes. During Man Of Steel and Dawn Of Justice, our heroes have been looked upon in mainly a negative light or at least portrayed that way throughout the movie, Superman at least had a small collective of fans but this is never really something that is highlighted in the correct way, leaving one of the most beloved heroes in the DC universe to feel as hated and mistrusted as Batman is.
It felt like we were watching a warped version of Forever Evil, where our heroes are nothing more that villains to be feared and miss trusted. The themes throughout were rife with many of the themes we're all living through in today's society. In doing so, I feel like they've tried to focus on delivering the politics of our real life, but sprinkled it with powerful aliens and vigilantes, and attempted to fit DC's Gods into today's society, instead of taking what we love about these characters and fitting our world around them.
This is not to say I didn't love these characters being pushed in, Aquaman's first appearance was incredible. The way he inquisitively moved out of the wreckage before rocketing off in a display of his underwater mastery was visually beautiful. It was like watching a scene from an ocean documentary, with him moving out slowly like you see sea life doing so (those that say he was moving to slow and painfully underwater should watch blue planet, fish and the like do move in that fashion when emerging). But the others seemed to leave viewers relying on a back knowledge on the history of these characters, but as I pointed out to my brother, these were merely teases at what's to come, and DC wouldn't want to lay up multiple origin stories in this film when each have their own solo outing's in the pipeline.
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was a force of nature come the end, and made the coming together of DC's trinity one of the greatest spectacles on screen this year. She was smart, sexy and an all round bad-ass, I just wish she was given more time to let her character become immersed in the story of the film and explored a little further, rather than it be a case of "This woman exists, but you'll know more next year, so just focus on the rest for now".
Judging by most of the reviews I've read online, this seems to be a popular view among fans, but even given this slow build, she still came off as one of the more popular focal points in the film. What's more of a surprise, is that Jessie Eisenberg's Lex Luther was one of the more entertaining parts to the film. Fans were most worried about this casting choice as they were worried that the true Lex wouldn't be delivered on screen, and it wasn't to be fair, but he did provided most of the humour and levity in the film and helped to break up the monotony of all the thematic current events being thrown in our faces. This Lex came across more as a homage to Heath Ledgers Joker more than a representation of his comic book counterpart.
This movie was overly busy and drawn out in places that it needn't be, but has left the film going public and comic book fans alike divided and confused with what they've taken away from this cinematic experience.
Snyder's true skill shone through in the action sequences that really kept it from falling apart. The battles were epic and visually fantastic to watch, they were what kept many of my friends in their seats when other parts of the film failed to deliver for them.
The battles themselves were laced with a lack of heart and character development when the brief moments of dialogue came into play, added with the presence of an unnecessary Louis Lane and the significance of our named heroes bonding over their mothers common name, a part of the film that failed to have the impact I'm sure it was intended to have. No matter how much heart was missing from characters that have shaped many of our lives, there is no denying that Snyder's ability to capture and display a visually hypnotic fight scene that leaves you begging for more, is a huge part of what has made this film so incredible.
My only real gripe with the fight scenes though, were that it was all crammed into to small a time slot. The throw down between Batman and Superman could've happened a little sooner, leaving more time for them to grow closer as a team. This would also have made Bruce Wayne's final acceptance towards an alien a little more powerful as his perception and mistrust would've change over a greater amount of time.
I'm trying to avoid mentioning Doomsday as I don't think anyone has enough time to listen to my long winded rant on that creature. Someone call Peter Jackson, one of his Cave Trolls escaped Middle Earth and got jacked up on roids, I mean look at it...
The news of a petition to have Snyder removed from future films is, at best, unjust. His ability to deliver on the action and basic building blocks has been a major stride for DC and Warner Bros, given the struggles they've face in the past. But his ability at story telling and capturing the heart and soul of these characters leaves a lot to be desired. They should hold onto him, but bring in some help when it comes to shaping and moulding this universe to really deliver to both long time and casual fans, in the same way that Affleck rewrote some of the Batman parts of the film (which in my opinion were the best parts of the entire film).
Thanks to various contributors from Creators.co, you can already see the connectivity building between the films, with one contributor pointing out that the Batmobile featured in The Suicide Squad footage has undergone some changes, which could be a result of Batman's views and choices to be less brutal and savage come the end of this film.
The new Batmobile itself was a thing of beauty. The efforts gone into its design, along with the character wardrobe and costume designs are things to truly be applauded from this flick. Everything was as close to a perfect translation from page to screen as DC have gotten in their films, (minus the villains - but again, I won't even start on that). All I know is, I really want Bat-Flecks Batmobile, it's how I always imagined Christian Bales tumbler would turn out if he carried on going.
Wrapping things up here, this film has left me and many others in a state of confusion to say the least. I know I didn't hate this film, but I also didn't love it either. I came out really overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content, themes and plot points to process.
The studio were right in their praise and admiration for Ben Affleck's Batman as he was a major factor that saved this movie, next time though, maybe try a little less brooding Bruce and a lot more epic Batman action. The Dark Knights slice of the DCEU is in safe hands with Affleck and those movies are going to be phenomenal, Wonder Woman's solo film looks set to fill in a lot of blanks and Gal Gadot is going to do amazing things for the representation of strong powerful female lead characters, more so than she has already, I think it's safe to say those two portions of what's to come from DC are going to be ground breaking.
The rest for now, seem to be as big a mystery as this film has turned out to be. To be successful, I think Snyder needs to take on some help with crafting a compelling story that has heart and passion and not just a bleak world that relies on its action sequences to save it, because without a true heart to it, the action is just pointless (visually amazing to watch, but still pointless). He shouldn't be afraid to lay on some kind of explanation for some things within the narrative of the film, that way the films will be more open and accessible to those casual fans and not feel like their catered for people with a vast comic book knowledge.
Whether you're still confused by your feelings towards this film or not, the fact of the matter is, they've done something incredible here.
Critics disliked it, fans have been left confused in regards to their feelings towards this film. But no matter what, everyone is talking about it. It's opened up the world to this massive debate and is pushing people to return for multiple viewings, each time taking a different message home with them.
The issues within the subtext are real, they've created a dark and gritty world that couldn't have distanced themselves further from Marvels impressive shadow. But now that distance has been created, I just hope that all of DC's projects aren't geared towards the dark tone set so far, they shouldn't be afraid to have some fun.
But no matter what the outcome of this film has been, we're all the real winners at the end of the day. Where they go next is anyone's guess (tonally I mean as anyone who's seen the film knows what's coming), all I know is, Suicide Squad is going to be DC's true master piece this year.
But the world is a buzz with conversations and debates regarding this film and all of it's content, with no side of the war really winning, and at the end of the day isn't that a true stroke of cinematic genius?
Fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savoir, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is in cinemas now.