I’ve really taken my time on reviewing this movie because I had to first get a deeper understanding of it and get some answers to parts that left me confused before I jump onto criticizing it. But now I’m ready, so let’s get into it!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a fan service movie, the Director Zack Snyder went a route that is very and I mean VERY realistic to the comic books which left the general audience confused and dissatisfied. This compared to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy which was more realistic to the current world and his own vision of this hero, made it easy for general audiences to embrace. So I think it kinda boils down to this; you’ve got to at least balance fan service and good narrative because the most important word in “comic book movie” is MOVIE. If it leaves audiences confused and cannot stand on its own, it’s going to be deemed a failure.
Now the first thing I noticed and my biggest problem with this film is the editing! Scenes would just kind of smash into one another with no buildup. There are about 7 different plot lines taking place at once and this was a bad attempt to juggle them all together. The movie would cut from one character to another doing something completely different with no connection at all. It was so jarring! Batman v Superman failed at fundamental storytelling, the most basic requirement in film.
I could go on and on about the editing, there are so many scenes which could have created suspense, tension and excitement but just as these emotions start to build, the movie cuts to something else, so it doesn’t really impact you. However the news that Zack Snyder will be releasing an Ultimate Edition on July 16th this year which will have a 3+ hour, R-rated, Director’s cut could alleviate some of these issues. I think it will be substantially better than the amateurishly edited mess currently in the theaters.
Now, story wise, Batman v Superman was extremely ambitious with this, there was just too much story which left a lot unexplained and led to quick resolutions. If you’re not familiar with Batman comic books then there were some seriously unexplained events. I haven’t read these books so I didn’t understand a lot of the references and when the film ended I was thoroughly perplexed. Scenes like a random appearance of The Flash in a portal and a desert scene where Batman is facing off armed guards and some sort of winged aliens (the Mad Max apocalyptic thing going on was cool and bad ass though) were presented in a way that I personally had no idea what was going on and it did not help the story at all. Turns out scenes like this were directly referencing events that have happened in the comic and are possibly a setup for the Justice League movie coming out in 2017. Yeah, wtf? Explain it or leave it. No one makes an adaption with a “must have read the book” quota so this was inexcusable.
Most of the the parts that made sense and were actual build up to the fight were good. Especially Batman and that has mostly to do with his character which I’ll get into later. But why make us wait for 2 hours to see what felt like a 2 minute fight between Batman and Superman in a movie that’s called Batman v Superman. With all the shoehorned in Justice League set up, this movie really was more “Dawn of Justice”.
Whenever a movie has a confusing narrative like this, I sit back and just concentrate on the characters. And I loved most of the characters here, I’ll start with Batfleck; I really like how they went with an older Bruce Wayne. The few sequences I really liked had him and he did have a lot of screen time which was to my delight. He is disturbed, dark and so blinded by his hate for this alien (Superman) that he goes off the rails and becomes brutal. His conversations with Alfred were phenomenal, this was by far my favorite Alfred. I hope they keep this casting if they ever make the rumored solo batman movie Ben Affleck has allegedly written. I want to see more of these two in a better scripted movie. Yet on the other hand Superman had nothing to him, I simply didn’t care for his presence at all.
Meanwhile, Wonder woman surprised me, I was one of those cynical people who had no hope in Gal Gadot portraying her right but man was I wrong. She is amazing! She simply looked so cool while fighting. Her laugh when Doomsday punched showed she was enjoying the battle and then she pulled out her golden Lasso. Just so bad-ass!!! Enough to get me hype for her solo movie next year.
The only two characters I had a gripe with were Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. Lois Lane was useless, forever a damsel in distress and annoying, it’s like they tried so hard to give her a purpose in the film. She had the single most disturbing scene; that part where she throws the kryptonite spear in the water and somehow later realises she needs to get it back. Biggest, huh? Moment. And finally my absolute worst thing about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Lex fucking Luthor. Ugggggggggghhhhhhhh! As someone who loves Jesse Eisenberg and was one of the people who really held out hope for him as Lex, defended him after the trailers came out, it really hurts to feel this way. Lex Luthor is, in my opinion, truly terribly acted, terribly written and his motivations made absolutely no sense. There is nothing threatening or interesting about him and he is a cringe-worthy, irritating and an embarrassing attempt. I literally groaned whenever he came on screen, I truly hope he is not a part of the Justice League movies.
There’s still so much I would want to complain about which I will just state as honorable mentions like the *spoiler alert* death of superman which had zero impact on anything, the entire creation of the villain Doomsday, Zack Snyder choosing style over substance, some of the shitty dialogue, the whole Martha thing which was just painfully lame and again THE EDITING I can’t complain about that enough.
Anyway, Batman v Superman is a jumbled mess of good and mostly bad stuff. There’s a good film in there. It’s in there somewhere. Maybe the extended cut will fix it, maybe it won’t. It’s clear that the script and Snyder are at fault and they didn’t do a good job with this. It was executed horribly but of course we all have stuff in the film that we like because we like these characters. And it was awesome seeing Batman fight Superman but it doesn’t change the bottom line for this film, that it could have been so, so much more.
4/10, would not recommend!