Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

bvsDistributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: David S. Goyer, Chris Terrio
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: PG-13
For a film that greatly emphasizes the “verses” between two characters, it turned out to be a letdown in execution. The movie felt very short let alone very anti-climatic, considering the tension that built up to it. However, I do let it slide simply because of the difference in this film compared to the comic it was based off of, The Dark Knight Returns (1986).
Unlike in the comic series, Batman does not know the ins and outs of Superman, from his mindset to his weaknesses other than kryptonite. Because of this, it makes sense as to why the battle was shorter than expected let alone why it is not the main point of the film (despite the advertisement endorsing of “verses”).

supermanContent Guide

Violent Content: Countless punches and blows between Superman and Batman along with scenes of executions and interrogations.
Language/Crude Humor: Characters use God’s name in vain in certain scenes along with the word S***.
Sexual Content: There is a short scene of Lois Lane taking a bath until Clark gets in the tub with her.
Drug/Alcohol Content: Bruce and Clark attend a cocktail party at Lex Luthor’s where people imbibe wine.
Spiritual Content: There is a large amount of Jesus imagery and parallels when it comes to Superman, his actions, and society’s response to the world’s “savior” and idea of where devils come from.
Negative Content: Zack Snyder’s DCCU installment is very dark and brutal in fights, character development, and certain philosophical tones.
Positive Content: Despite the rejections from society, Superman still continues to protect mankind along with having a belief that man is still good and worth fighting for.

batmanReview

Fearing the absolute power and actions of Superman going unchecked, Bruce Wayne comes out of retirement as the Batman to take on Metropolis’s savior as the world struggles to figure out if Superman is the hero they really need. Being distracted by the tension between each other, a new threat begins to arise, putting the sister cities in a danger that forces Batman and Superman to put aside their differences and fight together.
To see that Superman is still unaccepted into the modern society was a very interesting concept to view and analyze. Despite saving the city let alone the world from the events in Man of Steel (2013), society still has a difficulty accepting him for who he is and the fact that he can do things that others simply can’t. While having powerful abilities can be helpful for the world, it also leaves that person with a large amount of responsibility on their shoulders, especially when it comes to the aftermath of saving the day.
Throughout the film, Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne constantly challenge the idea of a godlike figure living among humans, only adding more to the idea of how the world would respond to these so-called aliens or gods. There is also a large amount of religious and philosophical tones within the first hour, circling around the idea of a god being all-powerful yet equally all-good. It really makes one think about this in the area of religion and the idea of accepting a messiah-like character to be a savior.
With the rising climax between the two faces of DC, the prominent female figure Wonder Woman appears throughout, primarily when Bruce Wayne is around. At first, I was greatly concerned about her involvement but later I was surprised of just how well she fits into the story, both in the rising tensions and the all out fight towards the end of the film.
With Gal Gadot’s surprising performance was Ben Affleck’s chance at putting on the cape and cowl. When first announced that he would be playing the Dark Knight, a number of Batman fans gave their backlash on the casting only to be surprised by the trailers, photos, and the overall film itself. His Bruce was unlike any other from his brutality in fighting criminals to terror tactics in interrogation. Watching him fight was as if the gameplay of the Arkham Series came to life, from fighting styles to the use of stealth.
Along with these character introductions, Jesse Eisenberg was and is still not how I imagined Lex Luthor to be in the DC Cinematic Universe. However, I appreciate how cunning and mischievous he was in his contribution to setting the stage for Batman and Superman’s all out war. It was very clever and even entertaining when he explained his plan with the attitude of being victorious.
While some believe that the Doomsday’s appearance was rather unnecessary and just a shoe-in for a wonderwomanreason the heroes should unite, it made sense and not simply because of the trailers. As the tension builds between Batman and Superman, so does Lex Luthor’s plan behind the scenes as he creates the Kryptonian creature. Comic book wise, Doomsday has never been that complex of a villain so a back story let alone a traditional character introduction was not necessary. It also gave an important reason as to why Superman must be accepted among society.
From Zod’s genocidal plans to Doomsday terrorizing the sister cities, Superman is all more the reason why society has to accept him as he battles the Kryptonian to prevent it from reaching Metropolis and causing more damage than what has already been done. Furthermore, the audience experiences a visually breathtaking fight between the DC Trinity and Doomsday for the first time as they combine their abilities to fighting off the Kryptonian creature, from Batman using theatricality and deception to Wonder Woman’s sword slashing to Superman’s punches and heat vision.
Considering the rather large cast of main characters–primarily Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor–I had difficulty following all the stories at once. This caused me to have trouble getting the bigger picture from each character’s perspective. One moment, the focus would primarily be on Batman in the Batcave and then it would immediately shift to Superman or Lex Luthor. The closer the plot came to the climatic fight, the less that this point of view switching took place. However, for the first half of the film, it felt rather poorly executed as they intertwined each perspective.
Similar to Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman had a number of subplots that really had little to no place, from dream sequences to connections and pieces of dialogue among minor characters. If this was not difficult enough, the subplots that actually had significance were hardly expanded on and needed more details as to why they were important to begin with. If there is going to be a scene involving an object or character that has a connection to the plot, one has to make it stand out otherwise it goes overlooked, leaving audiences asking, “Why was that even important?”
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice does not shy away from setting the stage up for the soon-to-be Justice League film as characters become established along with the relationships between them. While some have been known to criticize the DC Cinematic Universe for its dark tones, it is a necessary one as it separates itself from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and brings a different perspective on superheroes living among us, and the response mankind has towards them. While audience members may get lost in the certain parts of the film, it is primarily aimed towards the dedicated fans and admirers who thoroughly enjoy the characters as well as the comics themselves.

Positives

+ Deep philosophical tones + Strong visual effects + Entertaining fight sequences

Negatives

- Weak "versus" execution - Not enough focus on character POVs - Unnecessary subplots

The Bottom Line

Due to the large amount of hype the film has received in the past two and a half years, this film unfortunately falls short of living up to people's expectations. It is a superhero film with a large amount of action and tension building but lacked the overall story of establishing characters and tie-ins. It was a film that was good but could have been great.

 

7.4

Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

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