This isn’t your fathers or even grandfathers’ generation of superheroes. These characters are more complex than ever before and the days of them smiling, shaking hands and kissing babies is over. No more are the days where a superhero attends a ribbon cutting ceremony or accepts an invitation to the white house. These characters have been adapted for the world we live in today. Take Marvel for example – after 9/11 on October 31, 2001 The Amazing Spider-Man #36 is released that depicts the real-life events in the Marvel universe. You may be asking why I’m bringing up Marvel for a review of their competitors?
Well, the point is, life has changed drastically in the last few decades and so have the heroes we have seen on the pages and the big screen that we have come to admire and claw over for the next movie to release. How many times have we been introduced to Thomas and Martha Wayne only for them to be gunned down in crime alley? Too many to count and yet Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (that’s a mouthful) needs to remind us all that it happens; again. Couldn’t they go the Marvel Studio’s route ala Spider-Man: Homecoming and treat its audience as if they were intelligent?
Director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel & 300) uses the origin story as a narrative tool and driving force of the film that finally brings two of the most iconic superheroes ever created together on the big screen. Just like James Bond, Batman casting consumes everyone and everything. There are many out there that regard Christian Bale as the best Bruce Wayne / Batman ever and for the longest time – so did I. But he had his trilogy and the next actor announced to put on the cape and cowl is none other than Ben Affleck (Gone Girl & Argo). Never has there been such an outcry of hatred and dissatisfaction toward a selection.
“Boys! Mm. Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent. I love it! I love bringing people together. How are we?“
We’ve seen fandom react this harshly before with the late Heath Ledger and look how that turned out. Based loosely on Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns – this is an older, battle tested and experienced Batman who has been fighting for 20 years. This is a Batman that kills and yes, this adaptation of the caped crusader has become this way as a product of his surroundings. It’s necessary for him to kill in this world but not everyone will agree with that characteristic. This much will always be up for interpretation based on the universe created by the creators.
Batman is known to be the greatest detective (aside for Sherlock Holmes) ever but this character trait has always been underutilized and instead Affleck brings the sheer brutality to the character that we haven’t seen before from previous iterations. The fight sequences for Batman are intense and gripping with the cinematography by Larry Fong using more close up shots of the action giving us the satisfaction of the impact of each punch and kick. There’s just something about hearing a bad guys bones break that’s euphoric.
Opposing Batman is the returning Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) who feels completely different than in the previous standalone. Where he should be defending himself when it matters, on trial for the destruction of Metropolis, he’s completely silent. Besides the well-rehearsed speech from Senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) the courtroom is as quiet as a mouse. It’s uncharacteristic of Superman to act like this given his nature for justice and truth. He’s also more of a bully in this film – in MOS Clark especially is able to ignore all the outside noise of everyone trying to get a reaction out of him but he lets his anger and emotions get the better of him.
“Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it. The Bat is dead, bury it. Consider this mercy.“
At the center of that is Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) who pits the Dark Knight against the Man of Steel. This iteration of Lex is something we haven’t seen before. That’s good and all but this portrayal of Lex is something of a Silicon Valley reject. Eisenberg is playing Lex the same way he played Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. It doesn’t fit in this world that Snyder has built – he’s completely unpredictable compared to our heroes who we know because of their development. It’s not even explained why Lex is doing all of this – we just assume he has encounter with Superman and vowed to destroy him.
Is it just me or is it weird that Martha is the same name for both Bruce and Clark? What’s even stranger is that it’s merely a coincidence. The name Martha at the time could have been a very popular name and the plot depends on this one name. Everything Lex does is because of a name.
One thing Warner / DC has done better than Marvel is put together a great trailer. The trailer for this film felt like we were getting a classic epic. Another thing the trailers did for this film in particular was spoil its villain. Doomsday is absolutely ruined where it could have had incredible theater reactions from the fans but instead DC showed their hand. The theatrical version of this film is disappointing. The way the film is edited makes it feel like a complete mess. There are several scenes that just don’t makes sense that they would follow one another, and the plot holes are sprinkled throughout as if it was done on purpose. Was it their intention to confuse the audience and fans? Who knows?
Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is the glue that holds this film together – he’s the connective tissue that keeps this film afloat. Seeing the battle of Metropolis from his perspective is a smart take because we get his motivation and his purpose in the film from the very beginning. This is a Batman / Bruce Wayne that preaches accountability and lives by the justice he has sworn to uphold because of his trauma.
Overall, Batman v Superman is a mess from top to bottom. There are redeeming qualities with Ben Affleck as Bruce and Gal Gadot making her debut as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (how good is her theme music though). It’s no secret Snyder is more of a visual storyteller, but the script is too weak for him to save it with the brilliant visual effects. If it weren’t for the plot holes there wouldn’t be a need for the Ultimate Edition which is strongly recommended if planning to watch. There was so much hope for this universe and it started with MOS, but this film gave us a complete 180. It’s too crammed to find any connection with these characters. If I were to rate Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Id rate it a 2.7 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is directed by Zack Snyder is Rated PG-13 and has a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released on March 25, 2016 and has a runtime of 3 hours and 2 minutes. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can be streamed on HBO Max or purchased on Retailers such as iTunes, Google, & Vudu.
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