So by now we’ve all seen “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” or at least should have if you’re reading this. If you haven’t seen the film you either (A) don’t care about spoilers or (B) don’t read article titles. In either case, stop reading if you don’t want anything ruined about the film.
Still here? Ok, let’s talk BvS spoilers!
That was a test. But seriously, I’m going to ruin the movie for you if you chose to read on.
So the film opens with Bruce Wayne’s parents getting killed for the umpteenth time in cinema history (seriously, as a couple been murdered more times in the history of film than the Waynes?) and it is actually done quite well. It looks and feels like “Watchmen” and even if there’s no dialogue besides Thomas’ “Martha…” (a painfully obvious indicator that name will come into play later, which is does) the scene has enough emotional heft to make it worth including. What I didn’t get is why the gunman stopped the family in the middle of a sidewalk (not even a back alley) and then made no attempt to rob them; he seemed to just be there to kill. Oh well. Far from the film’s worst problem.
What was awkward and hilariously stupid until explained was kid Bruce Wayne running into the woods from his parents’ funeral and falling down the well in slow motion. First off, that fall should kill him. Then all the bats fly at him and begin to lift him off the ground, which everyone at the audience was dying at until Affleck’s voiceover briefly says it was a dream. Like OK, but everything leading up to his levitating was not a dream, and so Bruce Wayne became Batman and developed a fear of bats because of a dream? Umm…
We then see the destruction of Metropolis from the perspective of Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and I honestly think this was the best part of the film. It is engaging, it is emotional and it is very well-constructed because we have seen this sequence before in “Man of Steel,” and they put it all in real time quite well. What took me out of the film a little was Wayne needing to call his workers and tell them to leave the building; as if the giant alien spaceship right outside their window was not enough of a reason to get out 20 minutes earlier. Then Wayne’s friend dies after awkwardly reciting the Lord’s Prayer and Bruce finds a girl in the rubble and he looks all pissed at Superman. Good enough setup.
The entire Lois Lane subplot with the bullet could and should have been cut. I get she needs to figure out that Lex Luthor was behind setting up Superman, but she could have found the magic bullet, given it to Army man and then later in the film he calls to confirm it was from LexCorp; cuts at least 15 minutes out of this 153 minute film. Amy Adams will never give a bad performance, but her Lois Lane is just so uninteresting a character, and just like “Man of Steel” she goes places she has no right being simply to further the plot.
Speaking of Lex Luthor, I though Jesse Eisenberg gave a good performance. I’m a Batman fanboy, I don’t know and care much about Superman or his world, so to me it didn’t bother me they took a different take on the character. That being said, I can understand if some people don’t like his twitchy monologue ranting geek, but I really actually dug it.
Then of course there is what we all came to see, the Batman vs Superman fight. And it was…fine. Like it was cool, definitely fun seeing the two icons go at it, but it is mostly the “Batman kicks the crap out of Superman and it really wasn’t even close” show. What was a bit of a letdown was we only scratched the surface of why Batman is angry at Superman, and it would have been cooler if Superman fought Batman because he felt he needed/wanted to, not because his mom got captured. Oh, and let’s talk about that.
The entire film is building up Batman’s hate and fear of Superman, and then after he beats the crap out of Superman, he is about to impale him before Superman grunts, “save Martha!” and Batman is like “what? Your mom’s name is Martha too? Ok, guess we’re friends now!” It even flashes back to that opening scene with Bruce’s parents in case you forgot Bruce’s mom’s name is also Martha. So a fight that happened for anticlimactic reasons ends for anticlimactic reasons.
Then Doomsday is created and it’s just 20 minutes of rinse-and-repeat CGI action and I was bored five minutes in. He was just a plot device and one we all called after seeing the trailer, which is a letdown.
The film concludes with numerous faux endings, including: Batman visiting Luthor in jail, Superman getting three funeral scenes, Bruce talking to Wonder Woman about “assembling a team,” and probably others I’m forgetting, all before the dirt of Superman’s casket begins to levitate. Shocking, the leader of the Justice League isn’t actually dead before we get a Justice League movie! Snyder, you clever trickster, you!
I overall liked “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” even if they didn’t need to add on the end of that title as it only cements the fact the studio had way too much influence on this film and setting up the DC Universe. I didn’t mind Zach Snyder’s direction here, but I don’t think he is *the guy* the be running the show, and continue to question what the studio sees in him. Say what you want about Marvel and how they control the superhero industry, but they have different directors for every project, and it’s worked out for them so far.
I’ll eventually see “Batman v Superman” again, and maybe all of the flaws will be too glaring to ignore. But as it stands right now, plot holes and moments of coincidence and letdowns aside, it is a fun movie that does justice (puns!) to my favorite character of all-time. Enough for me.