Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – review

Acting as a sequel to the Man of Steel film, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is an introduction to the DC films: Batman, Wonder Women, and other members of the Justice League. Visually, it is a very pretty movie and the actors give it their best shot at making it entertaining. The problem is that the story is lackluster and the editing makes the movie difficult to watch.

Bruce Wayne, played by Ben Affleck, narrates his parents’ death then flashes forward to Zod’s attack on Metropolis where Bruce Wayne does whatever he can to save people. 18 months later Superman is still saving people while causing controversy and Batman has appeared in Gotham, stopping crimes with vigilante justice. The two figures do not agree with each other’s methods of crime stopping so the villainous Lex Luthor is able to manipulate them into fighting each other.

The movie has some scenes that are lovely to look at; Superman saving a woman from a burning fire on the Day of the Dead or when he saves people on the roof of a house in a flood zone appearing like a floating angel above the people. These images create memorable moments that are impressive. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot are a welcome add on to the film but feel under utilized. Ben Affleck spends most of his time looking angry and Gal Gadot spends most of her time wandering around looking pretty.

The casting of Lex Luthor is baffling. Jesse Eisenberg does bring a different mannerism to the character, coming off like a twitchy, nerdy, caricature of Mark Zuckerburg. At no point was his portrayal threating and he came off like a guy that was just angry that he was picked on in high school.  The other odd casting choice is Jeremy Irons as Alfred. All previous portrayals of Alfred have been caring and smart but they were also Bruce Wayne’s butler. In this film it is more confused as to Alfred’s roll in Bruce’s life. For example, Bruce even serves Alfred coffee in the morning.

The editing for this movie was a mess. There are more dream sequences then a Freddy Krueger film. There are scenes that even seem out of sequence of time that are not established and seem thoughtlessly put together. Even the character of Doomsday seems shoehorned in and looked like they were facing a cave troll from The Lord of the Rings movies. The fight scenes are fun to watch when you can see through the darkness.

The movie is very long and it takes a lot of time before any real action takes place. Meanwhile there are lots of shots of characters walking, brooding, and whining about one another. The other Justice League characters are introduced as well as foreshadowing of the threats they will face in the future. The movie adds these sections without explanation so it will likely fit together as new movies come out but as it is it is like having a puzzle with pieces that come in installments. All these parts might come together brilliantly one day but as the movie is it is very confusing as to what is dream and what is forecasting the future.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a terrible movie but it is also not worth seeing in theaters. It is too long of a sit and not as thought out as it should have been. It is obvious that DC wants to have the same success as Marvel in their cinematic universe. The big difference that is working for Marvel is that it took its time putting out solo movies first to create an established universe before putting the heroes together as a team. With DC it feels like a big game of catch-up that is very rough and not nearly as entertaining as the individual films. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a grim movie that will likely scare many audiences from future DC movies.

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