Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, Scoot McNairy, Michael Shannon, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Kevin Costner
Director: Zack Snyder
2016 | 151 Minutes | PG-13
“Do you bleed? You will.” – Batman
After his battle with General Zod, Superman (Henry Cavill) is considered a hero by some and a threat to be stopped by others. Batman (Ben Affleck) prepares for war in case Superman’s power ever needs to be put in check.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is my first review for a 2016 movie. I’ve seen others… Deadpool and Star Wars for sure are deserving of reviews… but this is a movie where the review is practically writing itself. Please be forewarned, this review is going to be VERY spoilery. If you have not seen the movie yet, maybe go see it and come back for some conversation. If you have seen it or don’t plan to, forge ahead.
Since its release just a handful of days ago, Batman v Superman has been getting negative reviews from critics and fistfuls of cash from fans. What it really boils down to, I think, is that Batman v Superman is a very flawed but fun movie. There’s no shame in that but there’s also no sense in beating around the bush.
There’s so many unanswered questions and unexplained origins… Why does Lex Luthor hate Superman? Why is Wayne Manor in ashes? What happened to Robin? What the F has happened in Gotham in the past 20 years? How does Clark Kent not know who Bruce Wayne is? Where were Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg during the events of Man of Steel? Why does Aquaman hold his breath under water? Why the hell does Lex Luthor sound like that? With all these questions raised, why do we need to see Batman’s origin again when we have literally seen it in every single incarnation of Batman in the past 50+ years. Animated series, movies, comic books… we know that his parents were killed by a mugger, he fell in a well and got scared by bats.
Ben Affleck’s performance is good. He makes a fine Bruce Wayne. He is a fine actor for this version of Batman, which is a complete sociopath who doesn’t think twice about murdering many, MANY people… nameless thugs… turned to what I presume would be puddles of meat and goo inside the remains of a Dodge Charger. Surely bad guys but just because they fired some bullets at your bullet proof car, you kill them all? That just isn’t Batman. That’s The Punisher. On top of that, Batman is supposed to be the greatest detective of all time, yet he’s played like a fiddle by Lex Luthor, even AFTER he has Luthor’s huge files on metahumans. There’s also this weird feeling that Batman is always almost smirking under that scowling cowl.
We also get a host of different dreams, nightmares and visions that make Batman look like he’s completely lost his mind.
I DO really like Henry Cavill as Superman. He REALLY looks the part and can play the true character when he’s been given those moments to shine. What I mean by the true character of Superman is someone who is the pinnacle of what is good with humanity. He should be something so amazingly great that every human strives to be just a little bit like him. Now, it’s not that he isn’t a good guy in this new comic book movie universe, it’s that he’s just not quite THAT good of a guy. There’s a weird thing going on in Metropolis and the world as a whole where apparently some people want to build statues of him and some want to reach out to him for just a slight touch of his flowing cape and others want to kill him or regulate him. It’s like the entire world is 50/50 on this guy who has saved the entire world once and saved tons and tons of people all over the globe. There seems to be some implication that he has done something wrong in all of this. He should save people but maybe he shouldn’t.
Many are saying that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman steals the show. I wouldn’t say that by any means but she does a fine job. She doesn’t have a huge role. She’s a pretty girl at a party or two and holds her own against Doomsday in the final battle. That’s really all she does. It was enough to make me look forward to her solo outing much more than I would the next Batman or Superman movie. That’s something.
Lex Luthor as a character in this movie is very obviously, even in his public persona, completely off his rocker. He can’t even complete a simple toast at high falootin’ party in his own house… or a 3 minute conversation with a senator… without making himself look like he should be in a mental institution. Luthor should be an evil genius business mogul, not
Basically Lex *ahem* Alexander Luthor is the Nick Fury of the Justice League, having assembled all of the information to recruit them, even going so far as to create logos for each of them. That’s insane, right!?! So now Batman just needs to go out and give each of them their Justice League membership rings and wait for the next super villain threat.
I also found Doomsday to be really dumb lookin’. I’ll avoid the obligatory comparisons to CGI monsters and ninjitsu practicing turtles from other movies and just say that they were close to creating a comic accurate look for Doomsday at one point and never quite went all the way with his look. So close… yet so far.
The editing of the movie seems to be one of the biggest complaints that people have about the movie. It wasn’t as big of a problem for me as it seems to be for others but the first half of the movie began to feel like a slog through a lot of unnecessary territory. It began to feel like we were being beat over the head with the same ideas, time and time again, only to then be given a totally different reason for why Batman and Superman were going to fight.
BvS is REALLY heavy and overly serious for the entire two and a half hour runtime. There might be one smile in the entire movie and that’s where Clark/Superman climbs into a bathtub with a naked Lois Lane. I don’t blame the guy for cracking a smile but there should be one or two other times where we get a sense that these people are real human beings with more emotions than just anger and sadness. I’m all for these movies having a totally different tone than the Marvel movies but the tone should fit the characters and I just don’t think this is the right tone for all of these characters all of the time.
One of the things that I really appreciated about Batman v Superman was that it gave some real weight to the massive amount of destruction in Man of Steel. In Man of Steel entire city blocks were leveled to dust but there wasn’t much thought to the actual lives lost. Bruce Wayne gives us a really great look at the loss of humanity from that level of destruction.
I need to be really clear about something though. There is a lot of fun to the movie. Not fun in a smile and laugh kind of way. But fun in the “I’m watching a bat(man)-shit crazy super battle with tons of explosions and eye lasers and punching and lassos of truth and everything else you could ever ask for from a movie like this” kind of way. The fights are fun even if they could have been planned out a million times better so that they made some level of sense.
While I enjoyed the movie as a whole, I felt a bit empty as I walked out of the theater. There was some fun to be had but there were a lot of speedbumps along the way that really got in the way of me enjoying this as much as I might have otherwise.