Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

This has been a particularly hard week. I told myself I would not read any reviews for the film, but I was unable to fulfill that promise. I started reading these reviews wrought out of hatred and malcontent. Naturally I prepared myself for the worst, but still had hopes of a good film. Now that I have had some time to digest the film, I can safely say that the critics are wrong to call this film “bad”. This is an “okay” film, but it does have many flaws that people seem far too fixated on.
Son Of Krypton Versus Bat Of Gotham!
So what does the film get right? Well, the visuals are absolutely stunning. From the opening scene until the very end there was plenty of visual imagery that kept me fulfilled. If there is one aspect that Zack Snyder always seems to excel at, it’s the visuals. Some of these shots are just breathtaking. There is even one fight scene that is shot in one take, and I was very much impressed by it. Along with some stunning visuals, the main cast of characters are rather good. Henry Cavill reprises his role as Superman/Clark Kent and he does a great job injecting some much needed humanity to this character. Honestly this is the most complex Superman we have ever seen on screen, and I really think people forget about that. Throughout the entire film he has this internal struggle over what is right, what is wrong, and what he should, or should not do. I found his struggle particularly powerful. Alongside Henry Cavill we also have Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne. I was someone who thought Ben Affleck would be a terrible Batman, but I am very happy to report that he is actually quite good. His character is also fairly complex, and I think Ben did a great job showing those complexities. He is a damaged man, haunted by his past and his path to vengeance may be a bit misguided. I am also pleased with the physicality he brought to the role. This is by far the most intimidating Batman we have seen thus far. His Batman may be a bit too extreme and more violent than those of the past. However, he is also a much older Batman so there may be more for us to uncover as the DC Universe expands. The other two main characters are Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor. These two are both a bit of mixed bags. Starting off with Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot does a decent job. There are several scenes where she delivers her characters’ dialogue quite well. However there are other scenes where her delivery is strangely wooden. Her facial expressions are constantly great, and she does a great job with the action sequences in the film (even though most of it probably consisted of a CGI character). Now the big bad: Lex Luthor. Jesse Eisenberg truly commits to this role, but his role is unfortunately all over the place. Sometimes he is intimidating, sometimes he is goofy and sometimes you understand his character, other times you do not. The biggest problem with his character is that you simply do not understand his motivations. There is enough in the film that helps you infer what his motivations are, but the film needed a little bit more from him. Maybe just a scene of him witnessing all the destruction in Metropolis would have helped. Nonetheless I have some sort of understanding behind his character and I appreciate the different approach that the filmmakers were going for. Lex is essentially a spoiled kid who has gotten everything because of his family name. Without his name he is nothing. He is an antisocial, disturbed young man who seeks power that he will never have.
Do You Bleed? You Will
A few more bright spots for the film include the score, fight scenes, and the promise of future films. Some people seem to have problems with the films’ score, but I personally enjoyed it. Some themes are better than others (Not a fan of Wonder Woman’s theme) but it complimented the film very well. The fight scenes are intense, and honestly had me on the edge of my seat. The fight scene between Batman and Superman is certainly a bright spot. Finally, the film does devote a good chunk of time to set up future DC films. Without going into spoilers all I can say is that the future films are set up in really interesting and unique ways. I do not know what is in store for the future, but I am very excited for it. However, even though the set-up is interesting, it is also very forced. For instance there are Justice League cameos and the film handles them very poorly. The plot stops in order to address the Justice League, and then resumes. This brings up my main problem with the film: The editing. This is also closely related to the pacing. There are scenes that were absolutely unnecessary and other scenes that go by too quickly and do not breathe. Sometimes the way the film transitions from scene to scene simply does not make any sense. This is most evident at the end of the film, but I found a few examples throughout. These editing choices also make it very difficult to follow along with the overarching plot(s) of the film. This leads me to another major point: There is way too much going on in this film. It feels like 3 or 4 films put in one. I understand that the folks over at DC wanted to catch up with Marvel, but this really felt like it did more damage to DC. Instead of taking its time and really fleshing out these characters, the film just zips from character to character and plot point to plot point. There are some really great scenes in this film, but too often it just feels overstuffed. Not everything that is going on makes complete sense, but it would if there was more time devoted to it.
Closing Remarks
I can honestly say that I am disappointed with this film. It’s certainly fine, and not nearly as bad as most people would say it is. However, it is far worse than it could have been. I see a film that has endless potential, but because of the studio wanting to catch up to Marvel that potential is never fully realized. If you are a comic book fan, I strongly think you will enjoy the film. Believe me, there is plenty of good aspects, just know that as a whole the film is a bit of a mixed bag.


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