*THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE* If you have not seen the film, what are you waiting for? If you don’t want to read spoilers, the obvious advice is to not read this review.
Check out our spoiler free review HERE.
First, I would like to say a couple of things right out of the gate.
- I love the tone of the film. I have no problem with the darker direction the DC Universe is heading
- I love Batman and Wonder Woman in this film and the entire cast for that matter
- I love the fight, all 7 minutes of it
- I love the visuals
Things I did not love, which will be the focus of my review (they outweigh any of the aforementioned goodness).
- Character motivations make very little sense
- Atrocious editing
- Convoluted story and plot
- Give us more Superman (after two movies, we still have no idea who this character is)
- The marketing ruining every surprise
It’s been almost two weeks since the release of the incredibly divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was unleashed into theaters, and I’ve had some time to come to terms with the fact that, it’s not very good. Have I lost faith? Sure. Do I still believe in God? No. Am I still excited with the future of the DC Universe and the direction they are taking? Yes. Am I worried? Absolutely. Having said all of that and despite what I say in this review, there are parts of this film I enjoyed, but am completely dumbfounded by just how messy Dawn of Justice was. This is an unfortunate truth with all the terrible and great superhero movies the producers and studio could have used as what and what-not to do, especially since the release of Marvel’s 2008 world-building Iron Man.
I’ll start by talking about the elements that I enjoyed. Batman was awesome. Sure he was a bit of a jerk, but I’m excited to see more Affleck’s beaten-down older disillusioned Batman. He was the highlight of the film, along with Wonder Woman and seeing the cast take on their superhero roles in general was exciting. Dawn of Justice is perfectly cast. I even enjoyed Jessie Eisenberg’s interpretation of Lex Luthor. While the superheroes in the film seem to be having no fun, I’m okay with that. I still had fun and in no way need my superheroes as quippy as their Marvel counterparts. This leads me into the overall tone of the film.
I love the dark and bleak tone of this film, and likely the tone of the entire extended universe. Some critics and fans have been complaining about this tone, but I enjoy it. Maybe I’m a dark, moody, miserable person myself, or maybe I just want to see my superheroes done differently. I have the Marvel films when I want to watch something more lighthearted, and appreciate the darker nature the DC films seem to be taking. I’m all good with this. Say what you want about the direction Zack Snyder is taking this world, the guy knows how to shoot a beautiful film.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is gorgeous to look at. Break it down, and there are problems. On a purely visual level, the film is perfect. The fight choreography is what Batman fans have seen only in the comics, and now can enjoy on the big-screen. Snyder shot potentially the best Batman sequence to date, when Batman saves MARTHA Kent in the warehouse. It’s the highlight of the film for me personally. The fight between our two headliners was brilliant, but lasted 6-7 minutes. Years of build-up, and an hour-and-a-half built-up in the film lead to a seven minute fight that was over in a disappointing amount of time. There wasn’t enough time to fully feel the weight of this fight. Which leads me into the great many problems I had with Dawn of Justice.
The world we live in has a great deal of problems, but for some reason, the problems of Dawn of Justice hurt a bit more. Maybe not, but I wanted to like this film SO bad having been a lifelong Batman fan and movie fan in general. We’ve gone through the good (Nolan, Burton, the bad (Schumacher), but I didn’t think we’d get the ugly (Snyder). I was hoping WB or the creative team, learned from past mistakes. Even as recently as The Amazing Spiderman 2, which has many of the same problems as Snyder’s new film, I thought would teach everyone a lesson in not cramming in too much, without properly introducing and developing characters. But, WB and DC didn’t learn from past movie mistakes.
They shoved so much into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, they forgot to explore more of the title heroes. We still have no idea who Superman is, despite Man of Steel and this supposed sequel. Unfortunately, WB decided it needed to catch up to Marvel and bring out the big guns right away. Sounds fun, but the problem is, we still don’t know the characters. Dawn of Justice is a setup for the upcoming Justice League film, and it feels like it. We need to be with the characters more for the true weight of what we were “supposed” to feel during this film, but couldn’t, due to lack of screen time for all characters involved. Which is a shame because this film brought in some of the best story lines form both Batman and Superman, but failed to deliver a cohesive and impactful story.
Instead of focusing on the fight between the heroes, the film brings tons of stories that don’t need be be in THIS film and could have been saved for future entries. These unnecessary plot points include but are not limited to- the death of Superman, Doomsday, Wonder Woman (although she was awesome), and the amount of screen time Lex Luthor ate up. After all the hype and build up, fans were given a seven minute fight, albeit a great fight, an hour and a half into the two and a half hour movie. The filmmakers should have focused on the differences between the heroes ideologies and what motivates them internally. This would have made their fight so much more impactful, instead of brushing along on the surface to get to the next world-building plot. The movie moves from one thing to the next, without letting it sink in and impact the audience. When Superman dies for instance, we feel nothing because it happens so quick, and before we know it, Batman’s building the Justice league. Let’s focus on our characters instead of jumping from one different plot to the next.
This brings me to the plot, or in this films case, plots. It’s a mess and it’s as if they picked five of their favorite comic book stories and tried to shove it into one film. It’s hard to follow, not for us nerds, but your average movie goer. The plot is extremely convoluted and could have used a good edit to trim some of the unneeded fat. Much like this review, any elements are not needed as a more concise and focused film could have equally impacted audiences and still gotten them prepared for the future DC Universe films to come.
I could go on, but it pains me to do so, so for now, I’m signing off. I’ve said nothing in this review that likely hasn’t already been said a million times before on the internet. I personally needed to write something as I move through the many stages of Loss and grief. I’m past denial and isolation, on from anger, over bargaining, and have moved on to depression. My hopes of writing this is to hit the last stage of eventual acceptance as I start to realize a few things. First, it’s just a movie and secondly, they are not real people.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in theaters nationwide (And despite all the negatives you here about this film, go see it. Or if you’ve already seen it, which I assume is all of you reading this, go see it again. Maybe its better than we originally thought- probably not though).