Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman - Dawn of JusticeWith the collateral damage Superman (Henry Cavill) caused fighting General Zod (Michael Shannon), the world is left questioning the ramifications of having a god among them. Leading the discussion is Senator Finch (Holly Hunter).

Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) has seen the destruction caused by Superman, and has been directly affected by it. With Alfred’s (Jeremy Irons) help, Bruce, as Batman, is looking to find a way to stop Superman. Vengeance may also rear its head.

Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is working on his own way to stop Superman. When he is turned down by Senator Finch, he takes up the fight on his own. While trying to end both Superman and Batman, he unleashes his own weapon on the world.

Question: How do you put Batman in a film and make it darker than Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series?
Answer: Let Zack Snyder direct it.

DC has realized they cannot beat Marvel at their own superhero game. Marvel owns the light, humor-filled comic book world. To try to survive in the genre, DC has taken the opposite approach. All of their movies are dark and super serious.

As the movie starts, we are treated yet again to Batman’s origin story. Even if you haven’t seen any of the previous film, Nolan or otherwise, or you have been living under a rock for the past 30 years, I’m sure anyone who walks into Batman v Superman knows from whence the bat came. Yet, here it is again. In retrospect, I don’t know if there is another way to integrate Bruce Wayne into Superman’s world. When the story really starts, we are thrown into the back side of the battle between Kryptonians that ended Man of Steel. From there, things get needlessly complicated.

A lot of discussion has been tossed about regarding Ben Affleck taking up the cowl. In my opinion, he is no better or worse than anyone who has worn it previously. (Save for Val Kilmer in Batman Forever. But that was a terrible film through and through.) Henry Cavill picks up his character exactly as he did in Man of Steel. This time, however, he is a bit torn about whether he is doing the right thing. He plays the role of Superman well, though he is no Christopher Reeve. Jesse Eisenberg, playing Superman’s arch-enemy, Lex Luthor, comes across a little bit The Social Network meets Heath Ledger’s Joker. It casts a slightly different light on the character. He comes across a little less sophisticatedly calculating, and a little more crazy.

The real standouts in this film were supporting characters. I loved Jeremy Irons as Alfred. It could just be that I like Jeremy Irons. He becomes more than just a butler, more like Batman’s partner. The other was Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. We don’t learn much about her character or how she became Wonder Woman. She is just a mysterious woman wandering her way through the film. And then we hit the climax of the film. When the battle starts, Gadot steals the screen. The Wonder Woman I remember for the cartoons did very little. She had her lasso of truth and her wristbands. That’s it. In the movie, however, she is a total badass. She gives more and takes more than either of the men fighting next to her. I’m excited to see what they do with her character going forward.

Batman v Superman is brutal and intense at times. At the same time, though, it is two and a half hours of dark, brooding superheroes. The story meanders about, telling unnecessary side stories, rehashing back stories, and taking us through dream sequence after dream sequence. If Snyder would have cut some of the fluff and got it down to the 2 hour mark, it would have been more palatable. (I’ve read the R-rated director’s cut will hit 3 hours. Ouch.) The film takes so long to get going, by the time we get to a reconciliation, it seems hurried and ridiculously brief.

If you’re a fan of the darker tone DC has taken, you will no doubt enjoy Batman v Superman. And, by all means, see it in IMAX if you’re going to see it. It does a decent enough job setting up characters for the Justice League films without throwing in an end credits scene. For the casual comic book fan, or those who prefer Marvel’s approach, it is just too dark and too long.

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