SPOILERS Review: BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Now, after seeing the film twice, what i think of the movie overall hasn’t changed. My mind wasn’t changed about the terrible parts of the film and i still enjoyed the moments where it triumphed. I really hoped a second viewing would let me appreciate what was happening during the mostly boring first hour and a half, but it only reinforced how terribly a lot of those moments were edited into the film. So, if you haven’t figured it out already this is a SPOILER REVIEW, full of everything you probably don’t want to read if you haven’t sat through the film already. So that’s enough of a warning, lets get into the good stuff…. and the bad.
I will start with what was probably the best aspect of the film, and the only aspect of the film that everyone actually agrees on. And that is that Ben Affleck as Batman was incredible in this entire film. Right from when he is first introduced, through to his job as a spectator of the Doomsday fight i was fully invested in the character, his motivations, his emotions and wanting to know more about his current state of mind. This was a way more brutal Batman than anything we have seen in the films, he has a different moral code than we are used to seeing, and that’s what made him so interesting. We understand that he is an older Batman, who has seen a lot and lost a lot, and you can see he is getting more and more frustrated that no matter how many bad guys he puts away, another one takes his place. And so he has resorted to actually killing those who get in his way, a decision that i am sure is right now making die-hard Batman fans completely lose their shit over something so insignificant. I don’t mind the fact they he straight up murders people because it is within his character in the film, if he was just prancing around Gotham with a shotgun popping heads off Punisher style, then you’ve got something to complain about, but if there’s one thing Zack Snyder got 100% right, it’s Batman.
I loved the way that throughout the film you see his rage and hate for Superman evolve to the point where he had the chance to kill him once and for all. You totally understand why he is going through so much trouble in order to kill this alien, and that is the most important part. It can be perfectly summed up by one of his quotes in the film:
“He has the power to wipe out the entire human race and if we believe there’s even a one percent chance that he is our enemy we have to take it as an absolute certainty”
That sentence alone gives you all the explanation you need to understand where Batman stands in this feud and his motivation. And my favourite scene involving Batman, the scene where you get a lot of emotion out of the character, is where he is crushing Superman with his foot and is about to kill him when Superman mentions Martha (Kent) with all he has left. Now of-course Batman misunderstands Superman and he thinks he’s talking about his mother, because we all know Martha was the most popular name in 1939. That scene to me was incredibly powerful because you see a lot just in the expression on his face and the anger in his voice. You see his pain, remembering his dead mother, and how that still haunts him today, but you also at the same time see him connecting the dots, and wondering whether Supes is still talking about his mother. Then when he gets confirmation from Lois-ex-machina that he is talking about Martha Kent, that realisation on Bruce’s face was everything making sense, why he was fighting, and also that Superman had people that meant more to him than being just another human.
Now, was that a good enough excuse to get Bruce to all of a sudden go back on all of that built up hate for Superman and just become best buddies? To me, absolutely not. I think this is one of those moments where the writers just could not be stuffed, they needed a reason for Batman to unite with Superman an they came up with one lazy idea and ran with it. How quickly Batman turned on what he previously believed, with almost no inner conflict whatsoever kinda lessened the meaning behind his previous actions.
Now lets talk a bit about Wonder Woman, who i thought was just going to be shoehorned into the film with no connection to the overall plot. But HOLY SHIT, she was one of the biggest standouts in the film and i walked away highly anticipating her standalone film that is dropping next year. Not only did i love the character, but i thought Gal Gadot was great in the role. She didn’t get enough screen time for me to really judge whether her performance was one to look out for, but from what we saw of her, i thought she really worked within the film. And lets face it, without Diana prince in the final battle, Batman, Superman, and the future of the DC Universe would not exist, because she used her knowledge gained over the last couple hundred years to essentially go toe to toe with Doomsday. Her earlier interactions with Bruce Wayne were intriguing enough for me to really like both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince as pretty strong characters.
Because of her limited role in the film, there’s not much else to talk about other than the fact that she totally kicks ass and i hope she is even more entertaining in her stand alone film, that’s where we’ll really find out if she can hold her own film.
Lex Luthor was the character i was the most unsure about from the trailers. Everyone thought he was either too crazy, or just wrongly portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg. I was on the fence about it but after seeing the film, he was just way too goddamn nuts. So many of his scenes were weird beyond the point where i could actually take the character and his threats and actions seriously. All the little jumps and jitters, talking really fast, speaking in metaphors and putting together sentences that didn’t really make much sense was too much of an over-exaggeration of Lex’s personality where it does at times cross over into Joker territory. And they try to avoid the hate by mentioning his name is ‘Alexander’ and THE Lex Luthor was his father, but that does not matter at all. THIS is the Lex Luthor we have in the universe so THIS is the Lex Luthor everyone is going to look at as the representation of the comic character, and so THIS is the character people are going to hate, and rightfully so in my opinion. His character is essentially the puppet master of the entire film, fuelling the Batman and Superman fight and creating Doomsday. And he will continue to be the puppet master of the entire universe as he knows the Superheroes’ identities and now has knowledge of over 100,000 planets (i think thats the number) where he finds out about Darkseid and all that jazz.
They made him a very unlikeable character at times so i’ll give them that, its just a lot of his mannerisms that have me not looking forward to his appearance in future DC films. But there was one scene in particular where i really liked his character and his interactions with Superman. It was the scene on the rooftop where Lex essentially tries to manipulate Superman into fighting Batman so that Batman could kill Superman for Lex. This was the scene where i saw both Henry Cavill and Jesse Eisenberg’s performances come through and made me completely buy into their interactions. Here i saw for the first time in the movie, Lex’s more intelligent, plotting mastermind side trump his jumpy and crazy side. The way he commands Superman and has him on his knees and leads with confidence let me see a side of Lex that i hope we see more of in the future. But if that final scene of him is anything to go by, it looks like we’re getting crazy Lex 2.0 in the future.
I wanna talk a bit about Jeremy Iron’s Alfred who was awesome and also criminally underused in the film. I didn’t want them to shove more scenes with Alfred in there on top of all of the other crap, but there was a lot you could have taken out just to include more scenes with Alfred. It probably also wouldn’t have worked well in the overall film but i want to see more of this character in the future, especially in the standalone Batman film we all know is coming. I don’t know about all of the various versions of Alfred that are in the comics but here it looks like this Alfred is more than just a butler/babysitter for Bruce Wayne. He may have some sort of military experience and is definitely way more hands on than i have seen in other Batman films. You see him messing around with Batsuit technology and repairing the Batmobile, suggesting that he is the main guy Batman relies on when it comes to getting new tech.
Lois Lane was a character in this film who felt like she was there just because she exists in the universe, so the writers believed they had to include her as much as possible, which was way too much. None of her scenes made any meaningful impact on the plot, she has this whole side plot going on involving a fucking bullet that no-one gives a shit about because this is ‘Batman V Superman’, not ‘CSI: Metropolis’. She felt completely shoehorned into the film and is the damsel in distress multiple times in this film. She was either in need of saving or having emotional talks with Kent and she just slowed the film down. Why does she have to be everywhere? Did she need to be in the middle of the Doomsday fight? No. Figure out another way to recover the Kryptonite spear. Hell, if her dumb ass didn’t throw the fucking spear into the water in the first place, she wouldn’t need saving and neither would Superman. She was an inconvenience to the viewer and an inconvenience to the plot, the writers didn’t know what to do with her and didn’t want to leave her behind. And it looks like we’re getting a lot more Lois in the future because according to Barry Allen, “She’s the key”.
I have been pretty positive so far, and speaking quite highly of some of the films achievements relating to some of the characters. But it’s time to switch it up a bit by going into some of the bad things. Mainly the entire first hour to hour and a half of the film is where a shitload of the major unavoidable issues were. The film admittedly starts out very strong, it connects itself to Man of Steel in a very exciting and clever way and introduces us to Affleck’s Batman. But the fun stops there, because the next hour and 15 minutes is a complete mess with a few redeemable scenes here and there. It was like there were 5 different storylines that they were trying to keep track of and the way they were all edited together was a complete shit-fest. I was genuinely bored whilst watching this entire section, and on my second viewing i just wanted to go to sleep and get up when it started getting good, and that’s what i should’ve done.
Everything, and i mean EVERYTHING involving Lois and the search for the owner of the bullet should have been pulled from the film, no doubt. It did not fit with the rest of the film and made very little impact on the overall plot, more useless scenes to keep the runtime as high as possible i guess. And then you have all of the scenes with the Senator and the court case with Superman, and Lex interacting with the Senator which were painful to sit through. And it was all for one shock value scene where the entire courthouse blows up, such a giant waste of time as everyone in and out of the film forgets about it 15 minutes later.
Oh, and we must not forget all the times they shoehorn entire scenes into the film just to tease the future DC films. The fucking writers didn’t even try to integrate the references in a way that flowed along with the fucking story. The movie is just lugging on, then they throw in an entire 7 minute Darkseid reference with absolutely no explanation whatsoever and don’t mention it again, then the fucking flash shows up through the speed force to deliver a message that wont make sense for a couple of years. Then you get a look at Wonder Woman in full costume with Chris Pine just so you remember that her movie is coming next year. I can almost guarantee that in the Wonder Woman movie you will see the cast stop in the middle of the street for a quick group photo also with no explanation. And to top it all off they interrupt our scheduled broadcast of Batman V Superman to bring us an inside look at the emails of Diana Prince. And here we get to see brief, completely out of context looks at Barry Allen, the birth of Cyborg, and a good look at Aquaman’s luscious locks floating underwater. Did they have me looking forward to the future of the Justice League? Yeh, i want to see how they tie these guys into the universe and hopefully it’s done very well. But the way the scenes were forced into the film shows the level of bad, lazy writing and editing that went into making this film.
And this right here is why including these scenes was even worse. Even though they were randomly thrown in there, i was able to understand what they were referring to with my fairly basic knowledge of the comic characters and events. But to the general audience, they are going to have no fucking clue what is going on and they will just be confused. It’s not like they are quick not so obvious references that you can forget about, the movie practically stops to highlight those specific scenes, so casual movie goers won’t understand the references and thus be left in the dark.
Then, finally, after all that boring ass crap that didn’t amount to anything we get what we came for, Batman V Superman………. for about 10 minutes max. This fight was totally batshit insane, it was by far the most exciting part of the movie as you see them smash each other through floor sand walls over and over. Of course, we all know that Batman can’t do shit to Superman at full strength so he has to use the Kryptonite he magically stole to weaken Superman. And i thought that was a great mechanic to add to the fight, as you see Superman drift back and forth between being super and powerless. And then the big ‘oh shit’ moment is when we actually get a winner of the fight, it didn’t just end as a tie like we all assumed it would. Turns out that with the power of Kryptonite, Superman ain’t shit, and then we get the whole ‘Martha’ scene blah blah blah…. Personally, i would have liked to have at least 2 fights between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, but we did get a lot of them clashing ideals earlier so i guess that counts for the ‘V’, but it was almost more of a misunderstanding than a fight. But, it was awesome, so can’t complain for giving us what we asked for.
We also at this time get an amazing Batman fight scene, and probably the best Batman fight scene that we’ve ever seen on film. He totally destroys a room of armed guards killing half of them and then saves Martha Kent by the power of his magic non-flammable force-field?? Then as we all saw from the trailer, Doomsday shows up last minute after being created using a combination of Zod’s body and Lex’s blood which again wasn’t really explained. So he starts wrecking up shop and Superman blasts him into space where the US are able to nuke them with no casualties. But who knew…. Doomsday can’t be killed by regular weapons, it only makes him stronger, and more bony. The Doomsday fight overall was relatively exciting, i enjoyed it for what it was, a big brainless bad guy vs the heroes. Wonder Woman showed that she can totally kick ass and pretty much go toe to toe with the big guy on her own, as Superman is off saving his damsel in distress and Batman is the court-side commentator. He really was thrown in there so that we could have a big action scene but as you know how the fight ends, it was kind of a waste of one of DC’s biggest villains. As for how the fight ended, it was a very very ballsy move to do in this film that i honestly didn’t think they were going to do until Justice League.
The death of Superman is one of the comic storylines i am familiar with as it is one of the most popular and well known. We all knew they were at one point going to go that route because if you have Doomsday, you just have to do it. But i did not think they were going to do it this early in their cinematic universe. I thought Doomsday would survive this film and return in Justice League where we would see the death of Superman but i guess Zack Snyder couldn’t wait a couple more years. It was awesome though, seeing that scene pulled straight out of the comic (kinda) with Lois mourning over a dead (for now) Superman. But all that was completely undone, the mourning of the loss of Superman ended when they decided to show in the last second that he is now alive. Obviously we all knew he wouldn’t stay dead and he was going to one day come back, but i wish they never referenced the fact that he’s alive just yet. How cool would it have been if in a future DC film, Superman shows up out of nowhere to save the day. That moment may still be cool but now we know that as of the end of this film he is already alive.
And then after all that we have the end of the film, and it just fizzles out in a rather dull manner. During the Clark and Superman funerals, you get Bruce and Diana talking about how they have to stick together find the others, blah blah, who cares. The dialogue was cliche and it didn’t add anything to where the story was going to be heading. It’s hard to follow up from the death of Superman but it just kinda ends and thats it, nothing of interest really happens.
So there you have it, my spoilers review, i have probably forgotten to mention some stuff but there’s so much in this film that it’ll take me ages to go through it all so this is all you’re gonna get. Having another look at all the good and bad aspects of the film and after a second viewing, i might even lower my score from a 6.5 down to like a 6 or 6.1, as it is a very back heavy film, with most of the moments worth watching being in the back half of the film. If you liked the film or disagree with what i think, great, your opinion is your opinion…….. well, if you can back it up, then it’s an opinion.