24 April 2016

[Review] Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice

'A very expensive advertisement for the DC Universe.'

Director: Zack Snyder
  • Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Ken
  • Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Willis 
  • Gal Gadot as Wonderwoman/Diana Prince 
  • Amy Adams as Lois Lane 
  • Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor 
  • Diana Lane as Martha Ken 
  • Laurence Fishburne as Perry White 
  • Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth 
  • Holly Hunter as Senator Finch
Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
Running Time: 153 minutes (2 hours 33 minutes)
Release Date: 24th March 2016 (Australia), 25th March 2016 (USA, India)


Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice revisits the DC Cinematic Universe. Years after the events of Man of Steel which layed waste to Metropolis and caused the deaths of many, we see Superman suffering as a figure of extreme controversy. Bruce Wayne (who takes on the alter ego of Batman) becomes particularly interested in going to war against Superman due to his fear of Superman's destructive capabilities. Superman also disagrees with Batman's unorthodox methods of justice. A storm is brewing, and it is clear that these two figures will clash in a mighty battle. Meanwhile, millionaire philanthropist Lex Luthor goes into secrecy to obtain Kryptonite- the only thing known to hurt Superman's race. And as the two titans fight, Luthor assembles an unstoppable threat that will bring an end to Superman and wider, the entire human race. Battle lines are drawn, heroes rise and fall, and loved ones are put in harms way as the world wrestles with what kind of hero they really need.

This is it. The big one. The one that DC fans have been waiting for to finally try and catch up with Marvel's several home runs. What can I say, in an extremely objective manner, about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice? It was a wasted opportunity.

I assumed that this movie would receive the same ratio of attention as its title; half of it the Batman Vs Superman conflict, the other half the expansion of the DC universe- the dawn of justice. This movie was 153 minutes. Pretty long, and I can say it definitely felt that way. A lot of this movie was a little unnecessary. The build-up to the fight wasn't even really a build-up. A lot of time was given to a Luthor vs Wayne battle of who would obtain the precious Kryptonite, a lot was given to introducing new characters (Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, a random senator, and a random guy who lost his legs in the Man of Steel incident), some was given to setting up this wider DC universe (which I will get to later), some was given to the actual conflict, and some was given to that part we all saw in the trailer where they team up against Doomsday. So basically, if you came to see these two fight, you'll get roughly 15-20 minutes maximum of that. This movie had serious pacing problems and got off to a very slow start. And even when they were fighting, the fights were very slow-paced and alternating between 'I'll smash you into this, then you smash me into that'. It was awfully choreographed. The cinematography opportunities were endless to get amazing shots of these two fighting, but there weren't many, and when both heroes receive the call to action against Doomsday, they just forget about the brutal beatings they both got and walk away! Outrageous and unbelievable!

I thought beforehand that this movie would be overcrowded, but they blended together all the elements really well, even if a lot of the movie was unnecessary, it didn't feel crowded. Each main character as well as even some secondary characters had significant roles that aren't at all spoiled by the trailers as some people were very stressed about.

In terms of a wider DC Universe, I definitely see potential here. To avoid spoilers (even though if you check the cast list they're there), including Superman and Batman, there are 6 'meta-humans' that exist that will ultimately become the Justice League and they are all introduced in this movie. The final shot before the credits roll was very exciting and the set up for further DC films was brilliantly done.

For our new additions; Batman, Alfred, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor- Ben Affleck as Batman was bad-ass! I don't care about fan disapproval, I loved him. This Batman knows no such rules like no guns or no killing, this guy is ruthless and will take anyone down who crosses him with brutality despite his older age. My friend and I were laughing in the cinema at the battle sequence against Doomsday though, because Batman was kind of useless. And fans, you are, unfortunately, going to have to sit through Bruce Wayne's parents' death once again. It is brief though and revisited during Batman's serious moments. Jeremy Irons as Alfred was great, from the offhand sarcastic remarks to the wisdom-filled advice, he plays a younger Alfred and is fantastic as Michael Caine's successor. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was, everything that Batman was but a female version. She was incredible, powerful, and battle-hungry. She was grinning in the fight against Doomsday. We also got a glimpse at her past as well which was a nice teaser for her upcoming movie next year. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor... I have mixed feelings about. Eiseburg did a great job as this cocky, young, up-and-coming businessman and portrayed Luthor's insanity brilliantly in a Joker-esque performance. He is not the older Luthor we are used to seeing, but he still does good as an insane guy who is shockingly ruthless in his evil schemes. And yes fanboys, he has hair.

My thoughts on Doomsday (the final villain) just briefly; he did pose a great threat that deserved more attention than it did, it made me feel scared of ITS potential, however, the aesthetic is an absolute monstrosity, fire the designer who did that!

To the cast! We have Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne, as well as brief performances by Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher. As you can see, this cast certainly is star-studded and all of them perform consistently well in their roles, some better than others. I don't see the chemistry between Cavill and Adams (Clark and Lois), but I think Batman and Wonder Woman would make a cute couple.

Genres include superhero, action, adventure, drama, and sci-fi with elements of thriller and comedy (3 one-liners, 2 of which are in trailers. These were welcomed yet awkwardly placed and felt wrong. There needs to be more consistency.).

But why isn't family in there? I honestly don't recommend this one for kids. They will grow bored but even if you wake them up for the action sequences, they might get a little confronted by its scary nature. It depends how tough your kids are.

The setting was interesting; both Metropolis and Gotham are really close to each other. I liked the aesthetic but its a shame it was all destroyed again in the third act of this film (Metropolis really does deal with some damage). Themes include the greater good, compromising morals for justice, the unknown, fear, and overcoming adversity. There isn't a focus on these. The special effects were well done, however there was a lot of it. The costumes were great, I love all 3 superheroes clothing choices. The directing by Snyder probably wasn't the best and he needs to step it up for the Justice League movies. The script had a couple gems, but was inconsistent and had too many dream/vision/flashback sequences! There were loads of risks made in this film that I can't begin to list, and some paid off, others didn't. The tone was really intense the entire time from the opening shot to the final, jaw-dropping shot. No cliches here either.

The soundtrack by Hans Zimmer was great, with the themes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman inserted. I look forward to more of his work with DC. The marketing has been pretty heavy with varying levels of success, there were some parts I wish the trailers didn't show, and others I'm grateful they didn't show as well. How engaged was I? Not very until the real showdown begun on the back end of the film.

Sequels? There is no planned standalone Superman or Batman films, but however there's a lot more planned from DC.

In conclusion, while this movie was a wasted opportunity, it did have some high notes and presented a lot of unexplored potential for the DC universe with some decent cliffhangers to lead audiences there. I was expecting more but I still had fun with this movie and am looking forward to DC's next film; Suicide Squad being released later this year.

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