Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

dawnofjustice

Watching the highly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a little like spectating an overhyped boxing match. You patiently wait for the main event to start, only to then get disappointed when the one-sided scrap ends within a matter of minutes. On paper a duel between the most famous superheroes of all time should be epic, but alas setup for the upcoming Justice League blockbuster hijacks the whole thing instead. In case the script wasn’t bloated enough already we also get Doomsday showing up at the eleventh hour. Chris Terrio and David Goyer, who wrote the screenplay, must not subscribe to the adage that less is more. Couldn’t they have saved Doomsday for that Justice League flick that Warner Bros is so desperate to rush out?

OVERVIEW

Batman v Superman begins with Bruce Wayne witnessing first hand how the city of Metropolis was reduced to rubble, during Man of Steel’s final act. The scene establishes why the Caped Crusader despises Superman, as he helplessly watches innocents die and property get destroyed in the final battle with General Zod. If that doesn’t get his utility belt in a twist, the Dark Knight is further incensed when Superman turns up in Gotham and begins to interfere with his vigilante activities. Bruce isn’t the only one who detests Superman though. Fellow billionaire Lex Luthor also wants to bring Superman down a notch, which he intends to do by harvesting kryptonite ore and making use of the alien tech responsible for transporting Clark Kent to Earth.

To be honest I can sympathise with Bruce and Lex. Superman may be using his powers for good, but you can’t blame humans for distrusting an extra terrestrial who could potentially decimate a city with eye beams. Even if Superman is strong physically there’s no guarantee that his judgement is equally beefy. Early on for example we see that when presented with the choice of preventing a massive African massacre or rescuing Lois Lane, Superman opts to save the babe who jumps his bones. Out of Superman’s two rivals I have to say that Ben Affleck pulls off a convincing Batman. Jesse Eisenberg’s eccentric take on Luthor is another story entirely. Just because he previously played an entrepreneur in The Social Network doesn’t mean that he has the presence to portray Lex.

VERDICT

My rating for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a three out of five. The movie trails behind Marvel’s cinematic offerings, but it wasn’t as terrible as some others have made out. That said I did watch the Ultimate Edition of the film, which is supposedly more coherent than the theatrical cut – thanks to the addition of a few extra scenes. Maybe the movie would have received less flack from critics had it been released in this form, although I can’t blame cinemas for resisting to screen a three hour flick. Annexing all the Justice League nonsense, which added nothing to the story, could have condensed the running time. The brief Cyborg/Aquaman/Flash cameos felt shoehorned in, but on the plus side Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was a badass and easy on the eyes.

Overall I think Batman v Superman is worth watching for the Batfleck moments. Not only did Affleck avoid becoming another Clooney/Kilmer disaster, but he also delivered the finest live action Batman fights I have ever seen. The finale were the DC Trinity squared off against Doomsday was also decent, even if the CG effects made the creature look like a Lord of the Rings troll. Zack Snyder, not content with blowing up Metropolis in Man of Steel, channelled Michael Bay by orchestrating another explosive conclusion. The writers pre-empted the naysayers, who condemn collateral damage, by saying that the clash took place in a deserted part of town. I’m not convinced. If we maintain this level of wanton destruction, in future DC universe features, there aren’t going to be any cities left standing by the time Justice League rolls along.

27 thoughts on “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

  1. While I liked Man of Steel better I didn’t hate BvS. I liked Eisenberg’s acting even though he was more Jim Carrey’s Riddler than a Luthor.

    Batfleck was great and I look forward to seeing more from him.

    Superman disappointed me but I hope he’ll do better in the Justice League movies and the rumored third Superman one. My boy deserves better!

    • Eisenberg was too zany for my taste, but perhaps that is because I was expecting Luthor to resemble the character from the Justice League cartoons. Yes, he was more like Riddler/Joker. After the success of Dark Knight I think they wanted to recreate a baddie in the Heath Ledger mold.

      Superman was so bland in this film that I didn’t even mention his acting in the review! The actor looks the part, but needs to inject more personality into the role. Hopefully he is given more to do in future films, so he can redeem himself. Can’t be easy playing Superman when the studio is trying to make the character dark, which isn’t what Superman is.

      • Join the club of people who wanted to see either a Superman: The Animated Series or Young Justice portrayal of Lex Luthor on the big screen.

        Of course not. Superman is the epitome of truth, justice and nachos. He’s my favorite male superhero of all time and deserves better as I already mentioned.

  2. I didn’t think the Justice League bits added anything to the story, but as a DC fan it definitely made me a little giddy (particularly the Flash bit where he appears in Bruce’s “dream”). The first half of the film was slow going and could have benefited from a strong pick-me-up. I enjoyed the film though. Then again, I also enjoyed Man of Steel.

    • For me this film is like Man of Steel, which I saw at the cinema. I wasn’t blown away by MOS, unlike my friends, but I didn’t hate it like some other people do.

      Glad to hear that the Flash sequence is in there for the comic book fans. Many people were left scratching their heads during the scene. Can’t blame them given that he doesn’t look like Flash (due to the armor covering his costume) and the fact that the character hadn’t been introduced to movie goers yet.

      The Flash clip is a bit like Thanos appearing in a post credits segment. I was excited by the reveal whilst everyone else in my group was like “huh who is that, is it Red Skull?”

      • I think they’re just doing a whole lot of DC Universe world building for future films and hoping for the “a-ha!” moment cash-ins, but that’s not only a long wait but asking viewers to re-watch your film to “get it” is kind of a dick move.

    • Don’t feel too bad. I am a lifelong superhero fan and have yet to watch many of the live action Marvel movies that have come out lately. I’m trying to remedy that now, although it does cut into my gaming/anime time. Someone needs to alter Earth’s orbit so we get more hours in the day.

  3. I was bored during Man of Steel, so I thought this was more interesting at least. But there were a bunch of parts I didn’t understand, but I’ve only seen it in the theater and really have no desire to watch it again. Plus Superman himself is dull here.

    • From what I hear the Blu Ray’s extra scenes make the story easier to follow. Some stuff also doesn’t make sense, at this stage, because it is setup for future time travel ideas. I must say that I don’t like this business model. You pay good money to go to the cinema and then they try to blackmail you to buy the DVD release with content they removed from the theatrical cut.

      I barely mentioned Superman in the review because he was just there. Yeah, he was pretty dull. Oh well, I suppose the ladies enjoyed the scenes were he has his top off.

    • Thank you for the kind words. If you want to watch this movie you have to make sure your schedule is clear because it runs for three hours. Ouch! I miss the days when the average running time for a film was 90 minutes.

  4. LONG LIVE THE EXTENDED CUT! It really reveals how hacked up the theatrical release was. Personally, I’ll never watch the original version again. There were so many missed opportunities and surprisingly everything that was cut amounting to 30 minutes changed the film. Sure, it’s that much loooonger but the cut scenes were character scenes, and served to redeem Superman. My favorite hero and they castrated the poor guy in the original version. I’d recommend watching the extended to anyone. Still not a fantastic movie but a more coherent and characterful one.

      • It certainly is an example of that. Warner Bros. sounds like they’re panicking as the same thing happened with Suicide Squad now that the Extended Cut for that is out, too. Leto was pissed so much of his work was cut out and there’s really no reason for it. I guess they think longer films are less appealing and less profitable? I hope Wonder Woman isn’t hacked up.

  5. I like Affleck as Wayne but I can’t get over how his Batman is such a blatant murderer. Add that to a grim and moody Superman and it just feels like D.C. doesn’t understand the essence of their own characters.

    Maybe it’s more to blame on Snyder, but then it’s still their fault for using him to lay the foundation of their cinematic universe.

    I am hopeful for Wonder Woman though.

    • I don’t mind Batman being ruthless, although that comes down to personal taste. The scene with the vandalized Robin suit seems to imply that the Joker may have driven Batman over the edge, so he now believes it’s too dangerous to let criminals live. Besides, Batman used to kill in the early comics.

      Yeah, Superman should be a beacon of hope not grim and moody. I think Warner Bros are under the assumption that dark equals profit due to the success of the Nolan trilogy.

  6. I think the main problem is that they tried to cram in too much. They shouldn’t have shoehorned the Death Of Superman into the last ten minutes the way they did. They ended up giving Doomsday Bizarro’s origin as a result. I think they made one of Luthor’s many plots way too much like something the clown prince of crime would do. The Joker would kidnap Martha Kent, and hold her hostage to make Superman fight Batman. That isn’t a Luthor plot.

    I think they should have just waited, and let DoS/RoS be its own movie or two. Instead of shoehorning in Doomsday they could have went with a Bizarro fight (the set up with a botched Zod clone is close enough to the botched Superman clone origin from the comics) or just had a reveal of Luthor in his garish, green, and purple mech suit.

    There were things I did like though. Affleck surprised me. I didn’t really think he’d work as Batman going into it, but his performance proved me wrong. He did pretty well. I LOVED Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Cavil was great again as Superman. I thought the cast did the best they could with what they were given. I even liked most of the action. It was shot nicely, easy enough to follow. It was entertaining.

    Overall, I thought it was just okay. It wasn’t outright horrible, but it could have been so much better.

    • I think Warner Bros should hire you to plot their movies. Using Bizarro for the finale, instead of Doomsday, makes much more sense now that you mention it.

      Yup, the movie was overly bloated. I would have happily settled for a more simple Batman takes on Superman, they patch up their differences and team up to take down mech suit Luthor who had been manipulating them from the start.

      They shouldn’t have crammed in all the Justice League stuff into the film. An after credit scene would have sufficed. Luthor did feel out of character. Joker was so popular in Dark Knight that they are desperate to recreate him in a new form it seems.

  7. I’ve been enjoying Lucifer on HULU, a TV show that I’ve read doesn’t follow the comic version very closely. Have you seen it? Reviewed it?
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • Between watching anime/movies and playing games I haven’t had time to watch a television show in years. One day I will have to marathon all the good stuff I have missed out on. Lucifer is a spin-off of the highly regarded Sandman comics, so I imagine it would be entertaining. The same can be said of all the DC superhero stuff like Arrow, Flash and Supergirl.

  8. I thought that the actor who played Superman was a bit average. That made the film a bit “meh” for me. Love this quote hahaha – ” Even if Superman is strong physically there’s no guarantee that his judgement is equally beefy.”

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