The most anticipated film of the decade is finally here, but was it worth the wait?
Honestly the answer is a mixed bag. While Dawn of Justice produces some outstanding singular moments, director Zack Snyder can’t quite bring those stunning visuals together in a cohesive manner. The film promises the biggest battle of all time, but the actual reason thats pits our two heroes against one another is far from believable. I won’t spoil it here, but the tipping point and the climax are both woefully undercooked and underdeveloped. There’s no tension, no suspense, and not many surprises. That’s not to say the entire thing isn’t tremendously entertaining; I was never bored by Justice, I just expected so much more.
Furthermore, the influx of CGI means the film’s final 30 minutes end up resembling something of a never-ending video game. It’s so difficult to remain invested in action when 90 percent of the set-piece is computer generated and so painfully fake. Doomsday himself is pretty cheap, and he brings the film’s narrative momentum to a halt.
Performance wise, Ben Affleck is a revelation as Bruce Wayne. Although I loved The Dark Knight trilogy, I always felt like Christian Bale lacked that special brand of charisma that the iconic character deserved. So imagine my surprise when I found Affleck to be the best Batman yet (yes that includes Keaton, Kilmer and Clooney as well). If the rumours of Affleck writing and directing a solo Batman film are true, then we’re in for a real treat because the guy is fantastic as the brooding vigilante.
Henry Cavill has less to do as the Man of Steel, and I don’t know if it’s the actor or script who are more at fault. In fact, it often felt like Amy Adams had more to do as Lois Lane, and I’m sad to report that she’s saddled with the typical damsel in distress trope (multiple times actually). The rest of the A-list cast including the gorgeous Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Jeremy Irons, all deliver stellar work in their minimal supporting roles. There is a weak link however; Jesse Einsenberg is absolutely terrible as the notorious Superman big bad, Lex Luthor. I get what the script was going for: a Mark Zuckerberg-esque 21st century tech geek and villain, but the character is a complete flop in every way. And truth be told, a superhero epic is only as exciting as its antagonist. What a pity!
The real highlight of Dawn of Justice is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Although the character only has a handful of scenes, she steals every one of them with a potent mix of grace and badassery. In addition, the moment where Diana Prince finally makes her appearance in costume (and this is the first time Wonder Woman has ever appeared in a movie), is the undeniable highlight of the entire film. Suffice to say, I can not wait for Wonder Woman’s first solo adventure (out June 2017). The world’s been sorely in need of a proper female superhero, and it looks like that time has finally come.
Bits of Justice
(Note: full of spoilers, read only after you’ve watched the film)
– How many times must we endure another flashback of little Bruce Wayne losing his parents? Every single Batman film thus far has included this scene; seriously people, we know they’re dead and we recognize those pearls flying anywhere!
– So we’re supposed to buy the fact that Luthor designed frickin’ LOGOS for Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg? For those of you who don’t know, the entire gang will band together for Justice League (DC’s version of The Avengers). That film will be released a few months after Wonder Woman in 2017.
– The Batmobile chase sequence was not coherently filmed; I could barely tell what was going on. I pity the viewers who watched the film in 3D. Dizzy much?
– The only true jawdropper of the film: the bomb going off at the Senate killing poor ol’ Holly Hunter.
– The nightmare sequences featuring The Flash time-travelling to warn Bruce, and Batman being overcome by Darkseid’s flying minions were intriguing. However, I wish they were explained more because the average moviegoer probably found them extremely confusing.
– The huge battle between Batman and Superman was pretty terrific across the board. Astounding effects!
– I can’t believe I never realized that both Bruce and Clarke’s moms are named Martha. However, Batman changing his mind so quickly was borderline embarrassing from a storytelling perspective.
– Badass fight scene with Batman saving Martha Kent using his hand-to-hand skills. Top-notch choreography!
– The Wonder Woman score by Hans Zimmer? Goosebumps. Gave me chills every time.
– Why did Lois throw the Kryptonite spear in the water only to run back for it? Idiotic.
– Apparently, Supes almost dying in space was foreshadowing to the fact that he could never really die. Immortal perhaps?
– Loved Wonder Woman smiling after getting knocked down by Doomsday.
– The shot of DC’s holy trinity getting ready for battle with the blood-pumping music? Worth the price of admission!
– I wish the film’s ending was more impactful. The dirt rising off the grave just didn’t do it for me.
Although highly enjoyable, Dawn of Justice is more of an ambitious disaster than the masterpiece we all hoped it would be. I’m cautiously optimistic about the rest of DC’s extended universe. Bring on Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman.