Review: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

It’s been three years in the making. The beginning of Warner Bros. and DC’s Expanded Universe. Between now and 2020 we will see nine tentpole blockbusters that are all interconnected and share a similar tone. This vision, created by Zack Snyder, mimics the pseudo-realism perfected by Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight Trilogy. I enjoyed Man Of Steel. I believed Henry Cavill as an alien coming to terms with his power and struggling with his place in the world. The movie suffered from a CG-heavy finale, but otherwise, I was happy with the reboot.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice breezes past The Origin of The Caped Crusader, and jumps into The Battle of Metropolis from Bruce’s perspective. This gives Batman clear motivation for wanting to stop Superman. Unfortunately, the movie struggles to find an equally justifiable reason for Superman. What writers, David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio, do to create this Pay-Per-View event is messy at best. The plotholes in the movie are a mile wide. Many of the side characters have absolutely nothing to do and the end is another CG spectacle with more moving parts. Even with all that… I enjoyed nearly ever minute of BvS and I’m more excited for the DC Expanded Universe than ever.

This movie is long. It spends almost its entire runtime setting up the plot and generating build up. The movie jumps from scene to scene with little connective tissue and function to do what other scenes have already done. I felt the runtime near the third act. BvS wants to show us how people and governments react to Superman’s presence, but there isn’t enough space for the ideas to build and develop. Superman literally doesn’t grow as a character at all from the beginning to te end of this film. Clark Kent is the same person he was at the end of Man Of Steel. He never deals with murdering Zod, his romance with Lois isn’t examined at all and he doesn’t become a greater hero. BvS suffers from having all of these other characters. I would love to see a formal Man Of Steel 2, and at times, I think Synder attempts to make that here with little success. The failure of this film to make us care about Superman is evident in its ending… I’ll leave it there.

“You’re not brave.” - Batman

The other problem is Lex Luthor. I enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg but many of his lines and especially his motivations are just bad. There is literally no reason he does anything. The problems with the movie’s plot are clear with him and his character. I still enjoyed some of it. I laughed as he attempted to give a speech at his dinner party and when he put a Jolly Rancher is a politicians mouth. I loved some of the loftier, philosophical thoughts he shared with June Finch (played by Holly Hunter), but his random actions undermine a lot of it. I still liked him and I want to see more.

Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman is awesome. He is brutal and ruthless as Batman and damaged as Bruce Wayne. This rendition of the classic character is more tortured by the death of his parents than any version we’ve seen on film. One particular fight scene that’s spoiled in the last trailer still blew me away. There were several moments that made me question his relevance in a Justice League film with larger villains and even crazier plots, but I’m eager to watch a solo film.

Gal Gadot did a great job in a few scenes as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Again, nothing she does makes sense and her character would just show up when it was convenient for the plot. I liked her performance as Diana and even more as Wonder Woman. Her chemistry with Bruce was perfect and I wish we could’ve seen more!

Lois Lane has a useless subplot, I loved Laurance Fishburn, Harry Lennix gets a great one-liner, Doomsday is a lot and the titular fight is short, has a lot of build up, but is totally worth it. Also, what gets them to stop fighting worked for me at the moment.

Despite the clear and obvious flaws of this movie, I enjoyed how comic book-y it all was. It was convoluted and confusing like some of the best comic books. You have to use a lot of your imagination and connect several dots on you own. There are moments in this movie that will make no sense to casual movie-goers that I appreciated after the fact. There are a dozen comic book stories and ideas crammed into this thing, and although they all suffer because of it, I appreciate the attempt and was satisfied with the results.

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