An Entertaining Mess: A Review of Batman V. Superman Dawn of Justice
By Matthew Rembold
“God versus man. Day versus night. Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!” Sounds like the fight of the century doesn’t it? To many comic book fans, it is. For the first time on the big screen, two of the biggest comic book icons of all time will duke it out and potentially answer the question of who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman? Sure, some animated movies show these the two throwing down, but for years, fans have been dying to see them clash in live action and in theaters. Clearly, Batman V. Superman is a big event for superhero fans. Does it deliver the thrills it promises? In some cases, yes, in others, not so much.
The world has been introduced to the god like figure of Superman. Some see him as savior, others, such as Bruce Wayne, see him as a potential threat who can wipe out the entire human race. Fearing the unchecked actions of the Man of Steel, Wayne dawns the cowl of the Batman once again to take on the Last Son of Krypton. Meanwhile, a bigger threat emerges, forcing the battling heroes to set their differences aside if the human race is to survive.
One of the film’s major issues lies in its disjointed and bloated plot. The first forty-five minutes of the movie are kind of confusing, even to people who are well versed in the comic book lore. Too much is going on at one time, with little to no explanation being given until later on. Even if it is explained, the pay-off is not always entirely satisfying.
Another issue is how much they’re trying to establish the new DC Cinematic Universe. So many easter eggs and references are crammed into the film to show audiences that more DC films are on the way, but some of it is just unnecessary. Clearly, Warner Brothers is playing catch up with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and plan to do so by adding as much about the Justice League and other portions of the DC Universe into this one film. It doesn’t always help, even if these nods to future films are pretty cool.
In terms of positives, Batman V. Superman does deliver. The action sequences are superb, particularly the fight between Batman and Superman. Be on the lookout for a scene with Batman taking down a warehouse full of thugs. Zack Snyder, the director, is clearly a very visually oriented film maker. Every shot in the movie looks very good, no question. The scenery is stunning and the action is framed perfectly.
Other positives include the heroes. Henry Cavil provides us with a great performance as Superman once again, despite the character being too gloomy. Another stand out was Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, for the five minutes she was actually on screen. From what was shown, Gadot plays Wonder Woman as a tough warrior who isn’t going to back down from a fight. She perfectly portrays Wonder Woman’s elegance as well as her fierceness. The only issue is, there simply isn’t enough of her. Despite this, I am now very excited to see the solo Wonder Woman movie that will be coming soon.
The real star of the show however is Ben Affleck as Batman (or Batfleck as many like to call him). This is perhaps one of the best, if not the best, live action Batman we have gotten so far. Affleck plays Batman as a tough, brutal character who does whatever he needs to accomplish his goal. He truly captures the darker side of the character seen in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic. Affleck has nothing to fear after his outing as Daredevil back in 2003, he’s hit gold with Batman. I am eagerly anticipating his solo outing as the caped crusader after seeing him here.
The rest of the cast is kind of wasted. Jessie Eisenberg plays an entertaining Lex Luthor, but he is simply too goofy to fit in this very serious movie. I felt as if I was seeing Jim Carry play The Riddler once again at some points in the film, but he did good in the role he had to play. Amy Adam’s Lois Lane was also a bit of a let down. Despite being established as a tough, no nonsense reporter in Man of Steel, she falls more into the damsel in distress category this time around. She is simply playing the girl Superman has to swoop in to save from the bad guys. Jermey Irons’ Alfred does not appear as much as I would have liked, and Laurence Fishburne is once again underused as Perry White just as he was in Man of Steel.
One of the best parts in the film is its soundtrack. Hans Zimmerman (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Man of Steel) and Junkie XL (Deadpool, Mad Max Fury Road) deliver a superb soundtrack. Wonder Woman’s theme in particular is my favorite song of the album. All their songs really help build up anticipation during the action scenes and help pump you up when it’s time to be excited during the movie. Even if the film itself isn’t perfect, the sound track comes close.
In the end, I’m may sound far more critical of Batman V. Superman than I mean to be, but it does have many issues. Is it perfect? No, not at all. It is not, however, as terrible as most of the critics would lead you to believe. As a fan, I do like some parts of it quite a bit and other sections not so much. Despite its sloppy story and its very forced DC Universe references, the film has its moments. The battling heroes, soundtrack, and action scenes strengthen the movie. The visuals are very nice, but at times it seems as if Zack Snyder was far too focused on how the film looked than on the story he needed to tell. I won’t say you need see this movie in theaters, but I’d give it a watch at some point if you’re a fan of superheroes. Just don’t go paying top dollar for this one.