Review Of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice


Is Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice a worthy start to the DC universe?

Batman v Superman is finally here to kick off the DC movie universe fans have been wanting for a long time now. But is it the strong start the franchise needs to launch a series of movies, or does it never even achieve lift off. I could do a spoiler-free review, but I think it’s more important to acknowledge the pluses and minuses in Batman v Superman, which requires SPOILERS. LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS For Batman v Superman follow, so be forewarned.

So yeah, anyone (and their were a few) claiming that the Batman v Superman trailer didn’t basically show you the whole movie was pretty much lying their asses off. Batman is pretty determined to destroy Superman, mostly because he’s basically too dangerous to exist and someone (surprise, surprise, it’s Lex Luthor) keeps manipulating things behind the scenes to get the two heroes to fight, and when they don’t kill each other, he unleashes a modified corpse of general Zod as Doomsday to finish the job. Oh yeah, and Wonder Woman’s there!

Like seriously, that’s the plot. And I think in the hands of a better creative team, it might’ve worked on some level, but Batman v Superman might have the least coherent plot of any superhero movie I’ve seen in years (note I have not watched the latest Fantastic Four Film or Amazing Spider-Man 2). Not only do some things just not make ANY sense, Zack Snyder forgets the importance of showing his homework.

Let’s give some examples here. Lex Luthor just seems to know not only that Batman is Bruce Wayne, but that Clark Kent is Superman. Also, Superman seems to know that Bruce Wayne is Batman. There’s no scene of discovery here, it’s just revealed, Superman’s case, very casually, he just literally calls him “Bruce” (and this is right before their big fight). There’s no scenes of discovery here, they just know. Maybe this stuff is in the director’s cut, which has 30 additional minutes of footage, but that won’t matter for the people who are actually seeing it in the theaters.

Oh yeah, and the “v” part of Batman v Superman? It’s maybe 10 minutes of the whole film. There’s not even really any escalation, there’s the “do you bleed?” scene, then Luthor forces Superman to fight Batman while he’s having a whole crisis of if he’s actually doing more harm than good because he kidnapped Martha Kent. And Batman does nearly kill Superman, but only stops because hey, THEIR MOMS HAVE THE SAME NAME.

Also, how Doomsday is created is just ridiculous. Lex Luthor gets access to the crashed Kryptonian ship, then drips blood on Zod’s corpse and via MAGIC KRYPTONIAN LIGHTNING, WE HAVE DOOMSDAY! By the way, the ship is run by some robots, who tell Lex this procedure is forbidden by the Kryptonian Council. Lex REASONS WITH THEM THAT SINCE THE COUNCIL NO LONGER EXISTS, THE  RULES DON’T APPLY ANYMORE, AND THE BOTS ARE JUST LIKE “OK THAT MAKES SENSE, LET’S CREATE THIS ABOMINATION”

And let’s take a minute to talk about Doomsday, who is the only character I feel truly got misrepresented here, because in a movie that costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make, and looks impressive for the most part,  Doomsday comes off looking like a bad imitation of The Abomination from The Incredible Hulk, I mean, just look:

And he moves terribly, and it just doesn’t work.

Finally, in terms of Batman v Superman’s plot, I REALLY want to talk about the pointlessness of the final scenes.  This is a spoiler above all spoilers, so if you don’t want to know about the last 15-20 minutes of the Batman v Superman, DO NOT READ THE NEXT BIT.

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So, Batman has this Kryptonite spear to kill Superman. He doesn’t use it, but it’s the only thing that can stop Doomsday, so he leads Doomsday back to where he and Superman fought to use it against him. Of course, Superman can’t touch the spear because it’s Kryptonite. So what does Superman do? CHARGES AT DOOMSDAY WITH THE FRAKKING SPEAR AND KILLS DOOMSDAY BUT DIES IN THE PROCESS. This would be acceptable, if say, Batman and Wonder Woman were down for the count, but they are perfectly fine. Either of them could have gotten the spear while Superman kept Doomsday busy. But nope, Superman just sacrifices himself cause reasons. I’m all for the noble sacrifices, but this was a pointless and idiotic sacrifice that serves no purpose.

What’s that you say, Superman can’t be dead because we still have some Justice League movies to do? Well that’s what really makes the last several scenes incredibly pointless. You know how stakes for many Marvel characters are low because hey, there’s more movies on the way? Well this is like they knew this and did it anyways, because Superman dies, has a funeral and everything, but it feels incredibly goddamn pointless because we know he’s coming back, so what was the goddamn point of any of these last 20 minutes?

"Batman v Superman might have the least coherent plot of any superhero movie I’ve seen in years.  Not only do some things just not make ANY sense, Zack Snyder forgets the importance of showing his work."

So, in spite of all those issues with the plot, I almost kind of liked Batman v Superman. Because the good stuff is actually pretty good, even if there’s not a ton of it. With the exception of the Doomsday fight itself, the action sequences are tense and fun, and this includes the big showdown, brief as it might be.

I also liked the performances of most of the cast. I think Jesse Eisenberg is kind of all over the map. But I enjoyed Amy Adams even if she had little purpose other than constantly being rescued, and Laurence Fishburne has easily the most entertaining dialogue of the film. Henry Cavill seems more comfortable in the Superman role than in Man of Steel. Jeremy Irons is definitely great as a very grumpy Alfred.

But by far the best parts of Batman v Superman are definitely both Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Gal Godot as Wonder Woman. I thought Affleck did a great job playing a more disaffected and more world weary Batman/Bruce Wayne than there’s ever been, but still has this little spark of hope that’s reignited by the end of the film. And Godot is a fantastic Wonder Woman, having a lot of fun with the role with the limited screen time she gets. Like give her double the screen time and the movie would’ve been far better.

Next: Batman v Superman Is Impossible Version Of Watchmen

So in essence, I find Batman v Superman to be a lot like Watchmen. Which apparently was what Zack Snyder was aiming for. But ultimately that’s a huge problem because Watchmen was never meant to be something you base an entire movie universe around. There’s lots of bad, but what’s good is pretty good and gives me some hope for future DC movies. Although not necessarily Justice League, because that’s also a Zack Snyder joint. But the bottom line is here I feel like Batman v Superman needed to really deliver something amazing to start off on the right foot here, and they definitely fail in that regard.