Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Superman returns to the big screen but this time, the Bat of Gotham and a quirky and stupid version of Lex Luthor confront him.
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Callan Mulvey, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons & Diane Lane.
Run Time: 153 min.
US Release: 25 March 2016
UK Release: 25 March 2016
German Release: 24 March 2016
The long awaited and indirect sequel to Man of Steel has arrived - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is out in theatres across the globe! Since its announcement three years ago, the movie reached incredible heights of hype and it was clear that it would never satisfy those ridiculous expectations that fans had set. The question though is if Batman v Superman is a good movie and worth watching at cinemas. After the release of the second, spoiler heavy, trailer I decided to walk into the screening room with care and I was right to do so, because by keeping my expectations low I managed to really enjoy this blockbuster.
After the events of Man of Steel, that left Metropolis decimated, the world has been left with mixed feelings about the last son of Krypton (Cavill). While some worship him as a god, others harbour hatred and fear towards Superman. One of those persons is Bruce Wayne (Affleck), who saw his Metropolis office building destroyed and employees killed during Supe’s fight with Zod and is, therefore, preparing for war against the Kryptonian. Lex Luthor (Eisenberg), on the other hand, is following his own agenda and is trying to pit the two heroes against each other.
Batman v Superman might be a continuation of Man of Steel and sees Superman dealing with the repercussions of his Metropolis battle, but it is foremost a Batman movie. The story is mostly good and managed to catch my interest since the opening act. One of the positive aspects of this blockbuster is how grounded it starts off, engaging in real life problems such as racism, granted against aliens but racism nonetheless, that arose since Clark’s outing. My favourite part, though, is the Bruce Wayne/Batman story arc, which is fantastic! Watching the battle of Metropolis through Wayne’s eyes gives the whole scene a new perspective.
I like how the plot pieces fall in line, prepping both characters to fight each other and the battle between the two titans is handled tremendously well and is fun to watch. Diana Prince/Wonder Woman’s smaller story arc is also good, but I thought that it should have been kept as a simple cameo scene, leaving her out of the final battle. In fact, the whole third act should have been scrapped, as the secondary villain our heroes need to fight, is a completely wasted opportunity; the movie should have just focused on Batman taking on Superman!
While the smaller hints at the Justice League movie aren’t that bad, I would have preferred it, if it had been handled differently. As it stands now, it feels as if it has been crammed into the film out of necessity to build a larger world. The fact that Snyder needs to include those hints, makes it look as if there is too much going on and since the movie is about 20 minutes too long already, it could have definitely done without them. The biggest issue from which Batman v Superman is suffering, though, is the fact that it is a structural mess! The movie jumps storylines every five-to-ten minutes, to give everyone enough screen time and the beautifully grounded story arc it starts with, is thrown away turning it into and extreme fantasy flick.
Ben Affleck is incredible as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but I always did believe that he is able to pull it off. He really sells the emotions and feelings Wayne has towards the Man of Steel, and he audience fully understands why he hates him so much. That hatred drives his alter ego Batman to pursue criminals more viciously than ever before, and I think that this is one of the best Batman incarnations we obtained on the big screen, as of yet. Jeremy Irons plays Alfred, and just like Affleck he owns the role of Wayne’s elderly butler. But he does not only serve Bruce with breakfast and good advice, this Alfred has more to offer than what we saw in the Nolan trilogy.
Henry Cavill is once again great as Clark Kent/Superman. I really like him in Man of Steel, which explores Clark’s human side. This film shows us his evolution towards becoming Superman and the trouble that it brings with it, because even though the Man of Steel does not answer to any government, his actions cause political friction and it clearly affects him on an emotional level. Amy Adams is once again fantastic as Lois Lane, but during the later half of the plot, she stops being the smart journalist that is presented to us in Man of Steel and becomes the typical damsel in distress, for Superman to rescue.
Gal Gadot does not disappoint as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and I really enjoy her presence in the movie. She proves that she is able to kick some serious butt, but I do wish her character had been kept as a minor side role, without outing herself as Wonder Woman.
Jesse Eisenberg is the only cast member who I believe does not work out. His rendition as Lex Luthor is a mess and he proves to be extremely annoying as the main villain. He does not play Lex Luthor, but rather Jesse Eisenberg who tries to act as Lex Luthor. His twitches fit more to a paranoid schizophrenic and he lets us know a little too often that he is suffering from daddy issues. To be frank, I don’t know anyone who understood and embodied the character of Lex Luthor as good as Michael Rosenbaum, in the Smallville series.
Just like the Man of Steel before, or any other Zack Snyder movie for that fact, Batman v Superman consists mostly of fantastic and handsome cinematography. The film is really beautiful to look at, making good use of special effects and perfect fight choreographies; Batman battling Superman looks as if the pages on Miller’s Dark Knight comic lines had come to live! What really annoyed me are the hard cuts used, to jump between storylines but Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL’s grand composition makes up for that in every way!
Verdict: I really like and enjoy Batman v Superman, leaving the cinema with a big fat smile on my face but the sad truth is that it is far from being a good movie. While the cast and performances are fantastic (except Eisenberg’s Lex) and the first two acts are really engaging, the movie starts to slightly fall apart as soon as the third act starts and the secondary villain is introduced. The overall structure of the movie is a complete mess, cramming too many comic book storylines into one film and trying to use the movie as a springboard for other DC characters and the Justice League movie. Overall, I would recommend DC comic readers and comic book fans to go watch this movie, because it is a fun blockbuster as long as you know that you are walking into a comic book adaptation. I wish I could give it a higher rating, sadly the movie has too many flaws and it will, therefore, obtain a 6.5 out of 10.
EDIT: The Ultimate Cut of this movie, which is 30 mins. longer is far superior and should have been the theatrical version! That one obtains an 7.5 out of 10!
Have you seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yet? If so, let me know what you thought of it and if you agree with my opinion. Thank you very much for reading this review, and if you found it helpful, please share it with others.