Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Review: 3.2 out of 5
If the film was titled “Superman: Dawn of Justice,” then maybe the film would have made the least bit of sense. That fact that it succeeds at making people want to go see a film that doesn’t know which direction it wants to go is nothing short of fascinating.
After watching this film, two things are certain: if you love “Man of Steel” and Ben Affleck, then this is your movie; however, if you love Superman and Batman, you will be heartbroken.
Zack Snyder has the worst time trying to place all groups in the same universe. When you see why everyone is giving mixed reactions, you’ll understand that it is a “Zack Snyder” film, meaning that Snyder successfully gave us the Superman/Batman version of 2009’s “Watchmen.”
It’s unclear where the plot is taking place because it jumps through every circuit possible and does not provide an explanation. Here is the story of two of the greatest superheroes in comic book history, yet having Batman placed in a Superman sequel seems quite unnecessary.
However, there are moments in the film that can appreciated. Take for instance, the way it tries to connect to the comics and how it flawlessly moves in a darker tone that shows each character’s trials and tribulations. There are also some points in the film that are misconstrued by many fans and newcomers alike, moments that are under-appreciated, and times where people were just very ignorant to the possible “what if” scenarios.
On the other hand, the actors of this film are half and half. Some you will like and others will ask “why?” This film can be a pain to talk about or explain; nevertheless, it generates interesting conversation.
First things first: let us all take a moment to acknowledge the fact that Ben Affleck successfully pulled off the upset of the year! His edginess, brute force, and uncanny demeanor presents the audience with a marvelous (no pun intended) Bruce Wayne and a brooding and unforgiving Batman. His character fits the mold so well that we all must extinguish 2003’s “Daredevil” from our heads forever.
Affleck’s Batman overlaps Christian Bale’s by miles. Bruce Wayne’s character is presented as a damaged man who is still easily cooperative at showing his charming side, something Kevin Conroy’s Bruce Wayne did quite well. Whereas the character of Batman is just the right amount of brutal and excruciating punishment, the only characteristic of Batman that seems a little cheesy and over the top is the action of branding his suspects.
One situation that needs to be addressed is Batman’s “No Kill Policy,” which is seen to be broken at one part in the film. (((SPOILER(S) AHEAD))) During the nightmare sequence, keyword “nightmare,” we see a futuristic Batman who has gathered a tiny militia together in order to combat the deadly forces of a primal Superman, who has brought destruction and chaos to the world.
Viewers are having a problem with this scene due to Batman using a gun to take his opponents out and kill them with lethal force. Fans and critics alike were let down heavily with this scene, but I implore you to look at this scene from another perspective with three examples.
The first example: in the highly positive “Injustice: Gods Among Us” video game, we see Superman murder the Joker, which sets of a chain of events causing alternate universes to mix together; so while Superman became a power-hungry overlord, the original Superman from the true universe never committed this act of murder.
Second example: in the 2001 series “Justice League,” an episode titled “A Better World” showed the audience a murderous Superman who ended up killing Lex Luthor and almost proceeded in killing the Flash, but once again this was an alternate universe where the original Superman never committed these crimes.
And now the final example: in the critically acclaimed animated film “Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox,” the Flash ends up running so fast that he time travels and heads into another reality where Batman is actually Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s deceased father. This Batman is ruthless enough to kill and use guns due to the experience of witnessing Bruce die as a boy and watching his wife, Martha Wayne, turn into the Joker; however, this was a completely different reality in which nothing was truly real and was caused by a change in the timeline.
All of this is being said to explain that if Superman became the villain that everyone expects of him, then what measures will Batman take to bring him down and save the world? While you can say that he broke his policy in Batman vs. Superman, it should be noted that this was merely a dream of a POSSIBLE reality in which he would have to take those risks.
All in all, Ben Affleck is in the category for one of greatest Batmen ever. Superman’s character, played by Henry Cavill, is a minor improvement over 2013’s “Man of Steel.” There is definitely a darker Superman who is struggling with his morality, loyalty, and drive to do what is right, but it isn’t enough to make us say that Cavill is now our Superman.
Cavill’s charm and character of heroism is superb, yet is lacking the personality that it takes to be Superman. However, during the fight with Batman, Cavill’s character did show some looseness and dark behavior that made us fall in love with Tim Daly and George Newbern.
Wonder Woman’s character was another incredible performance that we did not expect to see. Gal Gadot gave the audience a monumental performance of a heroic and sexual leading lady. Throughout the film, you will be wanting to see more of her character, but will walk away satisfied that she will have her own film in the future.
Jeremy Irons’ “Alfred Pennyworth” was great, but a little disappointing at the same time. As I look at Iron’s Alfred, I’m thinking to myself that this is the darker alternate reality version of Michael Caine. He was witty and painfully honest, but way too bland to truly accept him as Batman’s right hand man. However, Affleck’s portrayal helps us accept Irons as a perfect fit.
The Justice League’s introduction was possibly the lowest point in the entire film. It is another unnecessary add – in, just like Doomsday, to get everyone hyped up because DC feels as though they need to catch up to where Marvel is. And finally Jesse Eisenberg:
Mark Zuckerberg as a power-hungry genius who inherited his father’s fortune and used it at his disposal. Eisenberg brings the whole groove so far below that Aquaman wouldn’t even know that it is beneath him. With Eisenberg’s “Lex Luthor,” we see the same exact performance that we always have and that isn’t anything to see repetitively.
Another letdown during the film was the actual three- to four-minute fight between the two main characters, but maybe that is why Batman’s name should have been left out of the title in the first place. There is more focus on Luthor creating Doomsday and Superman trying to find his place in the world where we actually forget that Batman and Superman are supposed to fight each other.
There are scenes that are rushed and flat out unnecessary, but the moments that we see between these characters remind us why we love them and provide a reason for us to remember why we love DC’s twist of different storylines. All in all, “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a thrill ride, but is easy to get lost in its amazing confusion.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice