Latest DC superhero flick is entertaining, but far from perfect
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) was one of the most hyped up movies of the year and rightfully so. It’s the first time we see the Man of Steel and Dark Knight on the big screen together and it serves as the ignition to the Warner Bros. DC cinematic universe. But does it deliver? In short, yes.
I tried my best to go in blind as a bat with this film. That is, I tried my hardest to avoid reading reviews that could possibly influence my feelings going in.
BvS takes place 18 months after the events of Man of Steel where we saw Superman and General Zod duking it out, destroying much of Metropolis in the process. BvS does a great job of addressing this destruction throughout the film as we see Superman face issues of morality and how the world views a being as powerful as him.
Batman sees a problem with Superman having so much power and no one keeping him in check. Superman has an issue with the way Batman handles criminals in Gotham City. Why can’t they just talk it out?
Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, gives a great performance. Warner Bros. was definitely shooting for the Robert Downey Jr. type of casting when they cast Affleck to be a part of their version of The Avengers, the Justice League. Affleck stole the scene in every one he was in. He’s the embodiment of what Bruce Wayne should be, a stoic and intelligent man who’s been through a lot, starting with the death of his parents. There’s a scene toward the end of the movie that is, by far, the best scene I’ve seen from a Batman on screen.
The film’s main villain is CEO millionaire Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg. This was a casting that got a lot of flak when it was announced. Readers of the source comics or cartoons will notice that Eisenberg’s Luthor isn’t what you would expect. This rendition shows signs of Heath Ledger’s Joker mixed with the same kind of awkward performance we see from Eisenberg in his other movies. With that said, Eisenberg, like Affleck, stole every scene he was in. His character makes you want to listen to every word he says, yet he makes you feel uncomfortable at the same time. He’s evil and has a master plan, yet he’s still timid. I might go out on a limb and say he had the best performance in the film.
Let’s talk about the score. Hans Zimmer is on point once again in BvS. The Dark Knight trilogy composer and Junkie XL deliver some beautiful pieces during emotional scenes and intense ones during fight scenes. Lex Luthor’s theme is one of my favorites and of course, Superman’s theme always gets me.
Wonder Woman. We’ve known for a while that she was going to be in the film and the trailers even let us know where she would show up. Gal Gadot delivered a strong and fierce Wonder Woman, a kind of character we unfortunately rarely see from a female superhero on the big screen. She had very few lines but we still learned so much about her.
Without spoiling anything, I want to say that BvS has a very bold ending. It has a type of ending that we haven’t seen in any superhero film up to this point and I really respected it. It had a rightful place in the flow of the movie.
The pacing is a little sketchy from time to time, but that’s to be expected in a film that focuses on two different superheroes and their individual stories. There are some points in BvS when you aren’t sure what’s going in the beginning of a scene because of how the previous scene ended. We don’t have time to process one scene because of how abrupt the scene editing is.
The marketing hurt this film, the trailers in particular. If you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen 99 percent of the major scenes in the film. The big reveal we see during the last fight scene wasn’t very surprising because we had already seen it in the trailers. The villain we see in the last fight scene, also advertised in the trailers, takes away from the conflict the title of the film suggests. If you haven’t seen the trailers, keep it that way.
BvS was very much a setup for the Justice League and the rest of DC’s cinematic universe. Some elements and scenes from the film felt forced in because of this. This took away from a conflict and story between two superheroes that didn’t feel all that conflicting.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a blockbuster. It was made purely for entertainment purposes and it delivers on this. Don’t go to see it expecting “Oscar quality.” Instead, expect some great action, a solid score, and astounding performances from Affleck and Eisenberg.