Mystified. The main word that comes to mind when reflecting on Batman v Superman. As a DC fan and film-goer, I’ve had my sights on this movie for quite some time. Growing more and more eager to see the final product. Much hinges on the critical and financial success of this movie. Will this jumpstart the DC Cinematic Universe? Does it have what it takes to contend with Marvel? Will it bring something fresh to the comic book movie genre? With excitement and glee I can answer these questions: yes to all the above. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. We get a brilliantly crafted movie that is not only the most unique comic book film that I’ve ever seen, but damn near brought me to tears, something the Nolan Batman’s or any comic book film has ever accomplished.
The progression to this film stunned me in that I’ve never seen a movie like this flow the way that it did. Instead of just sandwiching our leads together, their paths interweave. The movie doesn’t focus on Batman more than it does Superman, the two icons share about the same screen time and their fair deal of problems. Superman is dealing with an existential crisis, while Batman is dealing with a security crisis. How their paths connect is done skillfully by writer Chris Terrio. These characters have much more dimension than we’ve ever seen in them in cinema, and more than we’ve seen from Marvel movies. While that will likely change with Civil War, both Clark and Bruce tackle the tragedy from Man of Steel in very different ways.
I guess the shining star here really is Ben Affleck. Something I loved about Man of Steel was that Henry Cavil really came into the role of Superman near the end of that movie. He retains that role in this but has to walk on eggshells because of the amount of scrutiny he is under for certain things. Affleck’s Batman takes charge here as a weary and paranoid Bruce Wayne. His version of Bruce Wayne/Batman has obviously been through some hardships, making him a control freak. Bruce constantly seeks to gain the upper hand with numerous things plaguing him. Throughout the entire movie some of the best scenes involve Batman, especially the fight between the two titan. I couldn’t forget the other show-stealer; Wonder Woman.
Princess Diana shines when she’s on-screen in her gear. Her first real appearance in action got a well deserved round of applause from our audience. Those who were worried that Gal Gadot couldn’t pull it off be rest assured that she is the real deal. With that Jessie Eisenburg gives us a very particular Lex Luthor. Lex plays a vital role in this movie and moving forward through the movie. Often times he came off a little too theological, but in the grand scheme of things he’s brilliantly written, similar to Heath Ledger’s Joker but with many peculiar qualities and not as much bite as Joker. Still I was impressed by how good the writing was for his character, the more I ponder it the more it grows on me.
The downfall of many Zack Snyder movies is that Snyder has some gorgeous directions that’s often limited by poor writing. If I can make anything apparent in this review it’s that the writing is just great. The hiccup dialogue from Man of Steel is gone and replaced with real characters, interacting, with a hive mind goal amongst factions. The story is pushed forward thanks to the real/driven actions of our characters that mostly make sense. There are a few pitfalls here and there where some things don’t add up like they should, but overall I may get my qualms answered in my second viewing or they may be small misconceptions.
Superman needs some love too, because Cavil, again, does a great job of portraying his Superman and giving him an identity that differs from Christopher Reeves’ Superman. Cavil really adds a human layer to this alien character and it shows. Thankfully all the characters are given a boost and echo with the superb score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. The Superman theme shines when it needs to, the new, dark Batman theme sinks its teeth into the knight just like it should, and the Wonder Woman theme is probably the best of all. Lex having an equally good, menacing theme as well.
So the writing is excellent, the characters are done right, but a comic book movie wouldn’t be complete without the action. Zack Snyder delivers in every way possible. The man has a way with getting great shots and adapting comic panes into real life. We get some iconic shots of all of our heroes and a good sense of the action. The fight between our heroes is a particular treat and any Batman fighting scene is beautifully shot and choreographed, it’s brutal and intense, similar to how Batman fights in the Arkham game, except it’s better.
To those that thought they saw everything in the Batman v Superman trailers, you will have a good few surprises headed your way. This movie is full of clever twists and excellent drama. Barely any of the second half of the movie is shown to us in trailers. It’s a little bit of a longer movie, running in at 2 hours and 31 minutes, but the time went by like a breeze and I instantaneously wanted to see it again and I plan to. I recommend IMAX as that’s the showing I attended. DC has finally given its answer to the world, Batman v Superman is a response to Marvel that will show the comic book world that it has something new to offer and to hold and exceed competition. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will have a lot of people talking about a lot of things, many of which I can’t wait to discuss further.
+ Ben Affleck’s Batman
+ Every Fight Scene
+ Personal and Well Written Dialogue
+ Smoothly Tying in Events from Man of Steel
+ Some Great Twists
– Some Clunky Transitions
A Very High Recommendation