After the events of the battle of Metropolis, which had Superman face General Zod in a chaotic battle in DC's first Cinematic Universe film Man of Steel, both Metropolis and Gotham started to heal. Although the battle left thousands dead and a city half destroyed, people saw Superman (Henry Cavil) as a god from the heavens, and is here to protect the innocent from danger. Other people view Superman as a alien threat towards humanity. Now the world will try to come to terms with aliens trying to protect and destroy earth.
One of Superman's critics is Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), the billionaire owner of Wayne Enterprises, and the brutal bat vigilante. Wayne believes Superman is the biggest threat to humanity and uses the destruction of Metropolis as examples. He is convinced that the Man of Steel could turn his back on Earth and would leave destruction in his wake -- and no one can stop him. Superman believes that Batman is operating outside the law and has to put a end to it. Batman and Superman are ready for an ideological battle, but Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has come to put both heroes in an all out war.
Fans and critics were split after seeing Director Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. Certain moviegoers think the film was a great for it's dark setting which is different from Marvel's light-hearted films. Others view Snyder's Superman film was too dark and empty, and believed Snyder wasn't the right person to direct the movie. Having that in mind, some moviegoers won't be shocked to see Snyder's follow-up to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice just as controversial as Man of Steel. Batman V Superman is just what the fans expect it to be, dark, grim, and for the first part of the film just flat. The editing and pacing in the first half of Dawn of Justice is off going back and forth between characters, not knowing who to stick with. The characters that are soon to team up in the next Justice League film are set up in a way fans won't be very pleased with. But what people can't deny is that the film is packed with awesome action sequences, and moments that will excite come book fans as well as casual fans too. The visual effects are amazing and a huge improvement from Man of Steel.
Batman V Superman tends to focus more creating a sensible world that these heroes inhabit after the events of the Kryptonian invasion by using politicians, tech moguls, and vigilantes who all have perspective of Superman. People might have hoped the first half of the film will slowly lead up to the fight everyone is waiting for, but it felt uninteresting when trying to introduce three iconic characters, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor. The film also quickly sets up characters that will soon become Justice League members that feels like it was rushed to earn a big cash payout next year instead of slowly building them, as well as the the entire DC Cinematic Universe. The entire third-act is emotional as well as a visual triumph. Although the finale is epic, and it doesn't take away the problems which are clear in the first half, the film still manages to leave fans disappointed in Batman v Superman.
The film is very easy to tear open with it's similar mistakes to Man of Steel. Although the film has dozens of plot holes and other issues, the biggest problem in Dawn of Justice is it's characterization. Snyder focuses a lot of building up a larger DC Cinematic Universe and leaves it's two main heroes being very under-developed. It's best to have the viewer understand both heroes' viewpoints on whats right or wrong.
Zack Snyder seems to know these characters very well, despite how some claim that he doesn't. Some say that that Henry Cavil wasn't the best choice to play Superman, and many have hated the fact that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman. But in fact, these versions of their characters is what makes this film great on some levels, but in the same way doesn't do very much with them, especially Superman. Soon viewers would figure out that the story is just pushing the two heroes to fight, without very much character development throughout the film.
It's great to see these superheroes come together and fans can still be excited for the future of the DCEU, but Dawn of Justice doesn't go far on exploring Batman and Superman's relationship and making it stand out above the rest. Despite this, Snyder leaves many call backs to the comics and plenty of world building trail marks that should leave fans excited for DC's next slate of films.
What pushes the movie forward as well as the universe is Lex Luthor. The actor's casting was very controversial, but Eisenberg's Lex seems annoying and less intimidating than fans would have hoped. Later in the film, the revelations about him are very intriguing and helps move the plot forward instead of being a villain to just hate. With the minor nods to the Lex that fans are familiar with, this one is a new take on the villain that is much loved. His plan in Batman V Superman is the very well played and is more sadistic than his other counterparts. At some parts of the film his plans get hard to to wrap our heads around until the confrontation between Lex and the Man of Steel.
Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is one of the best things in this film. Gadot surprisingly is a scene-stealer as both Diana and the the Amazonian warrior. In the film, it's Lex's job to put the two heroes against each other, but it's Wonder Woman's job to showcase the bigger part of the DCEU plot. Even with little screen time, Wonder Woman is Batman V Superman's most likeable character. A movie that is fueled with testosterone, Wonder Woman is a great addition, especially in a superhero genre that is dominated by males.
Cavill is great and has improved as the Man of Steel, but is very underused and can't seem to win over critics both in the film and out. As Clark Kent, does a decent job but can do more still. Cavill is more Clark than Superman in Man of Steel than in this film. His interactions with Lois Lane (Amy Adams) are somewhat great at times, but it will be great to see interactions as both Clark and Superman. The actor still tries to put more humanity into Clark showing that he may have superhuman powers but is still a relatable person and still has feelings of loneliness in the world. Affleck as Batman on the other hand is fantastic! He may seem a little off to hardcore comic book fans but Ben Affleck looks built and has a huge action sequence that will leave audiences blown away. The part with the Batmobile is the best one yet and his brutal side is very entertaining. Both Affleck's Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) have the best chemistry. If you were not a fan of Superman twisting necks, then you will not like Batman going against his moral code in this film.
The fight scene between the two heroes is everything you have hoped for. Aside from the ending of the fight, every hit these heroes take is felt and it is the most memorable fight in this film. The film really delivered the fight making truly a fight between God Vs Man. This really sets the bar for hero battles that will follow, if they do follow. The scene that will most certainly leave audiences talking, is the knightmare sequence. The scene very well sets up the future of the DCEU. The scene is beautiful shot and shows audiences Zack Snyder is fit for the job as director. The sequence is great, but feels like it's only in the film to set up the future instead of helping the film its in progress.
In the end, Batman V Superman feels similar to Iron Man 2, a movie that cares more about creating a shared universe over developing a decent story and developed characters. There are plenty of things to like about this superhero film, but Dawn of Justice is very uneven with some truly great moments on the side, but there is clearly room for improvement. The film never quite captures the hatred to bind both Batman and Superman to battle and it has many flaws, too many to count, but it's a very entertaining movie that will still leave fans with some kind of hope for the future of the DCEU.
My Rating: C+