Movie Review

Movie Review – Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

"The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. God versus man. Day versus night! Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!"

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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.

Conclusion
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.

Nad Rating
B

16 comments

  1. I'd honestly give it a C+. The first hour shows promise and is definitely the strongest half of the film, however there is a long list of issues: Too many subplots, horrible editing, tedious score, and a miscast villain. The only person you get to know in this film is Batman. The movie is so dower, so ultra serious, its so operatic in how serious it wants to be and there's a point where it just starts to feel silly and you cant take it as seriously as its trying to take itself seriously. The fight between Batman and Superman is cool but it is meaningless and the fight is not long enough to justify sitting there for 2 1/2 hours. They took what was wrong with MoS and didnt improve it, they doubled down on it. This movie had a chance to say something, with the whole Senate hearing and all-but that got derailed. Anything of meaning or adult got derailed by an explosion. And that last 30 minutes is just a big light show. Doomsday shows up, and that's the Doomsday of the film. Ben Affleck saves this movie. Can we also mention how shoehorned in that JL setup was? Security footage just to say “Hey, expect our next movie!”. What sort of build up was that? I'm still of the opinion that Superman needed at least one more solo film before BvS to further develop his character and allow the audience to get more emotionally invested in his character because he was completely sidelined in this film. They could have delt with the town destruction in that film or something because while it was realistic and mature for the first hour, it ultimately resulted in wasted time. There were allot of things to love in this movie and they all for the most part include Batman, action, or visual stuff which is great but also makes this movie pretty surface level. For a movie thats been in the works for 3+ years, I'm severely disappointed.

  2. So true. All excellent points! And building up the next film with that security footage was pretty cheap! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. I fully understand the mixed response from a cinematic perspective. But as a long-time fan of Batman comics as well as a filmmaker, I thought Dawn of Justice was plain mind-boggilingly good. Even the half hour backstory, another half hour to build up the tension…I understand why many may have found it slow. But any hardcore Batman or Superman fan would have enjoyed Zack Snyder biding his time in the pacing of the story. DC wanted a treat to their fans. Was this at the cost of lukewarm or casual fans of DC? Yes. Did DC fans enjoy it as much as the comics and video games? This one did.

  4. You know I didn't mind the slowness at all! Just the Doomsday stuff really ruined the last half hour for me. Thanks for commenting Joe 🙂 I kind of feel like watching it again!

  5. I've been getting the impression from other reviews about the film being a mixed bag. It makes me wonder if I should go to theaters to watch it or wait until it comes on TV so my money would be saved.

  6. Perfect review Nad! Love reading your thoughts after watching anything hahaha! I loved the movie but it did not blow my mind at all (perhaps it needs a rewatch?).

    Agreed on so many points, it's hard to keep count or remember everything I came here to say. Nevertheless:

    Bruce Wayne's parents flashbacks: YAWN! I cannot endure more of those. There's gotta be a better way to start a Batman-related movie, no?

    I really, really wish I'd seen it in 2D!! I absolutely HATE 3D but have no idea why I gave it a chance here. So distracting and awful.

    The whole Martha thing was kind of amazing! I can't believe I never noticed the names as well. (Hilarious sidenote: a woman sitting behind me in the theaters asked in utter seriousness: “this means they're brothers?”)

    The Wonder Woman score gave me goosebumps!!! Even though we'd already seen her entrance in the trailer, it was still the highlight of the entire movie. JUNE 2017 CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH!

    Hated Lois Lane so much. Typical, annoying damsel in distress.

    “I wish the film's ending was more impactful.” My thoughts exactly.

    The CGI stuff at the end made me so numb – it was TOO much. I'm surprised some people thought the first hour was slow and boring, I found it to be a lot more entertaining than the “big fight” at the end.

    And the less we speak of Einsenberg, the better. What a colossal failure that took up TOO much screen-time. I did not expect the entire movie to revolve around him.

  7. Yes! I wish I told you to watch it in 2D! That's what I did becasue I knew that 3D would rob the film of all its color and make me dizzy!

    Numb is the word for the final 30 mins. I too was not bored at all in the beginning! It was much better!!

    And thank God I'm not the only one to hate Eisenberg. What a disaster. Thanks Chris 🙂

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