Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

Posted on April 14, 2016 in Arts & Culture, Movie Reviews
By USM Free Press

Byline: John Rocker

“Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a sequel to Zack Snyder’s 2013 Superman film, “Man of Steel.” Snyder is once again back in the director’s chair for the sequel. There was a lot of hype building up to the release of this film. It’s important for Warner Brothers and their DC Comic Cinematic Universe because it has to get the ball rolling in order to catch up to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, does this film live up to the hype? Well…

The story takes place eighteen months after the events of “Man of Steel,” where Superman and General Zod’s fight ends up destroying a good portion of the city of Metropolis. Guess who was in Metropolis during this fight?

Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman (Ben Affleck) was there. The result of Superman’s fight leaves one of Wayne’s towers destroyed, causing the death of many employees. Now, Wayne believes that Superman should be taken down, even if he is trying to do good. Meanwhile, Clark Kent, also known as Superman (Henry Cavill) continues working at the Daily Planet as a reporter and continues his relationship with Lois Lane (Amy Adams), but also tries to prove to the world that he wants to help. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also has a plan of defeating Superman.

That’s the best way I can describe it without giving too many spoilers. It’s really cool that Snyder ties in Batman with “Man of Steel”, showing that there are consequences for Superman. The story for Superman, which is trying to find his role in the world, is the next logical step based off the events of Man of Steel.

Does the world need a Superman? Of course, the film doesn’t delve too far into this question because there are other things that have to be done, like setting up the Justice League and the characters that are a part of it.

This film feels like a clump of stories with no clear through line to hold it together. There are also some scenes that really don’t make any sense and they serve no purpose to  plot nor  character development. This could be more of an editing issue, as the film does feel choppy. There are a lot of good ideas here, but perhaps if more time was used to focus on those ideas, the movie would have to be split up into two movies.

So what does work for this film? Affleck’s portrayal of Batman does and it’s one of the best parts of the movie. This Batman is a version we haven’t really seen before in films. He is much older and he has become bitter. He just doesn’t care what happens, just as long as he is able to achieve his goal. It’s a version that I liked a lot and I’m excited to see what Affleck can do with this Batman in the future solo film (Which he will be directing, so that’s a plus).

Really, the performances for the most part work well and they work with what’s happening in the movie, but Affleck was the clear standout. The action sequences were good, but there’s one that happens with Batman that was insanely fun to watch. It’s brutal, and nothing is being held back. Visually, this movie does look impressive, and you can tell that it’s a Zack Snyder based on the looks and how it is shot. There does seem to be a lot of slow motion shots, but it’s not overdone.

Now time for what doesn’t work and there’s certainly a lot. As mentioned earlier, this film doesn’t really have any cohesiveness. It feels like five different movies happening within one movie. There is one scene that takes the time to show all the future Justice League members and really it would have worked as a post credits sequence rather than in the film. There are also some nightmare sequences that happen that really have no purpose of being there and the only people that will truly understand what’s happening are comic book fans.

Then there’s Eisenberg’s performance: I like the actor a lot, but I don’t think this was his best role for him. It’s clear that, like Batman, they were trying to do something different with the character and it just didn’t work. For a man who is supposed to be a maniacal genius, he comes off as a twitchy psychopath. There are moments that I thought worked, but that’s when the genius side of the character shows. The mannerisms just don’t work and become more a distraction than a character trait.

There’s also the final fight, which if you’ve seen a certain trailer, you already know who it is and how it goes down. The CGI with this character looks more like a cave troll from “The Lord of the Rings” and I couldn’t get that image out of mind. The design could have been better and made to look more like that character in the comics, but I guess that’s more nitpicking than actual criticism.

Overall, Batman V Superman is a mixed bag. There are some things that work, and some that don’t. This is a movie that’s clearly made for the fans, and that’s perfectly fine. The plot issues, however, cannot be ignored, and I feel this movie will not respond well with the mainstream audiences that don’t follow anything comic book related.

If you really wanted to see this movie, chances are you already have. If you’re on the fence, it can wait until after it has left the theaters, you can decide for yourself what you think of the film. My recommendation: Wait for DVD or Netflix to stream it.