Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Our Reviews)


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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 comic book movie directed by Zack Snyder. The movie takes place directly following the events of Man of Steel.

Bishop’s Review – 9/10:

Last night I was able to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (somewhat surprisingly since it was sold out last week but more shows were added) and I have to say I walked away very surprised by the film.

By now you probably know most of the critic reviews for Batman v Superman are not glowing, most of them found fault with the direction and writing found in the movie and lots also criticized how long it is. I spent most of the movie trying to look for specific points that made me say “ok, I see what they’re talking about” but I didn’t find any. There were a couple points that I thought were going to be let downs but they turned out to be nightmares and not ‘reality’, the first of these was the beginning of the movie when young Bruce Wayne fell down a well, he was lifted to the surface by a flock of Bats. Initially the movie presented this as a flash back not a nightmare, so I was pretty annoyed that they went so ridiculous, but thankfully after the scene Bruce explained it.

The second part that originally had me annoyed was when Bruce fell asleep at his desk while decrypting data from Lexcorp, <spoiler> we don’t know he’s asleep and it shows him in a ruined city while Superman loyalists capture him and kill his colleagues. He wakes up when he is killed by a flying demon but he is then visited by an inter-dimensional being – this was unexplained but it would seem to be someone from the future sending him a message – who turns out to also be a dream (thankfully). </spoiler>

Everything else in the movie flowed very well to me. They show the Superman v Zod fight from the point of view of the average person (actually from Bruce Wayne’s perspective) and it outlines why he is so pissed off at Superman. Think of it this way, how would you feel if the army blew up your house & family because Osama Bin Laden was near it? Chances are you’d be pretty pissed at the Army… For much of the movie Bruce is driven by this anger at Superman who undoubtedly did the world good by killing Zod, however he left thousands of people (including Bruce’s employees) dead in his effort to stop Zod. Bruce feels that Superman should not be trusted, and he plans to kill him. Amazingly, I thought Ben Affleck did a great job playing Batman. I NEVER thought I would put those words to paper but credit where credit is due, I totally get it. Ben Affleck would have been terrible as Christopher Nolan’s Batman but for this version of Batman, he was fantastic.

Henry Cavill reprises his role as Superman in Batman v Superman (I’m gonna write B v S from now on, ok?), I’d certainly consider myself a fan of his (especially after The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and he did a great job of playing Superman yet again in this movie. Clark and Lois are now fully involved (and yes she does know he’s Superman), Superman saves Lois several times in B v S but to be fair, half the times she’s in danger this movie is directly because of Superman. While we know that Superman is more widely believed a good guy than bad, this movie tries to highlight the fear some of the population has that he could all of the sudden change his mind and destroy everyone. Like in Man of Steel, he has to save a world full of people who question his intentions.

Aside from Batman, Superman and Lois, B v S introduced us again to Alfred (played by Jeremy Irons), Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). In B v S, Alfred is much more than a servant, he seems to be Bruce Wayne’s Lucius Fox as well, we saw him tinkering with the Bat Mobile and working on Batman’s armor, seems like a lot of stuff for one person to handle… Like Alfred from the Nolan series, this Alfred also served to be Bruce Wayne’s conscious. I like Jeremy Irons and he did a great job as Alfred.

Jesse Eisenberg must be a good actor because his portrayal of Lex Luthor was fantastic, he was brilliant, ego-maniacal, while also clearly insane. Mid-sentence he would break off point and go on angry rants then return to his previous point and demeanor. I wasn’t aware of a Lex Luthor with these character traits but I’m definitely a fan. Lex inherited the company from his father but like all good corporate leaders in Hollywood, he’s entirely evil -Luthor blows up a senate hearing regarding Superman, leaving everyone dead (not Superman) including senators and even his complicate personal assistant (who I totally thought was a meta-human, but I guess not). Luthor’s whole façade in the movie that he doesn’t want Superman to have absolute power <spoiler> he kidnaps both Lois Lane and Martha Kent, which forces Superman to get his ass kicked by Batman who now has Kryptonite weapons. </spoiler> Like many people’s views on God, Luthor feels slighted/forgotten, I’m not sure what happened exactly but Lex, many times says “You can’t be all powerful and all good”. I look forward to another movie with Lex as the villain, he’s a good one.

I’ll be the first to admit that I knew nothing about Wonder Woman. I didn’t/don’t read comic books or watch comic book cartoons so this is the first real introduction I have to the character. We know that she is hundreds of years old (more I suppose) and is just as powerful as Superman but we don’t know too much else, she is set to have her own movie next year so that probably explains the lack of detail. Don’t think she’s left out of B v S though, just most of the time she is as her alter-ego Diana Prince. A cunning, stunningly beautiful and rich woman, who is skilled at sleight of hand. For the last hundred years Prince has retired Wonder Woman, she says the world can’t be saved but seeing Batman and Superman try to fight Kryptonian monster that Lex Luthor created she realizes she must help and provides much needed backup to the Bruce and Clark, like I said she appears to be just as powerful as Superman (though I don’t think she can fly).

The battle with the monster (Luthor calls it the Ancient Kryptonian Deformity) <spoiler> leaves Superman dead, he sacrificed himself to kill the monster with a Kryptonite spear fashioned by Bruce Wayne. The world is in mourning, while there is a huge procession in Metropolis (I think, could have been Washington DC) for Superman, there is concurrently a low key open casket funeral is held at Kent’s home in Kansas, in attendance (but not officially) are Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince, Bruce suggests to Diana that they need to find the other Meta-Humans to stand and fight, while Diana reluctantly agrees.

After Lois throws the first pile of dirt on Clark’s casket, the final scene in the movie shows the dirt on the casket rise slightly before the film cuts to credits. Obviously implying that Clark is not dead (did you think he would be?). </spoiler>

Conclusion: I liked Batman v Superman a lot, it’s grittier than the Marvel universe (which to me now panders to the little kids – Deadpool and GOTG excluded of course). I liked the attention to detail, the theme songs changed based on who the story focused on, Superman had his from the Man of Steel, Wonder Woman had her own, Lex Luthor his own and Batman had his (but not the same from the Dark Knight series). There wasn’t a dull moment in B v S, and amazingly (I did not have high hopes) I’m going to give it a 9/10 and recommend you see it!

 

Cleetus’ Review: 8/10

Despite this movie being Zach Snyder’s directorial take at a Batman movie, I felt that there were many shades of Christopher Nolan in this film. In B v S (I’m going to follow Bishop’s abbreviation), I felt that this movie shared a lot of the similar character traits that Nolan’s original Batman films had. In my opinion, Lex Luther was a carbon copy of Heath Ledger’s Joker. If you even look at their appearance they are eerily similar considering the length of hair, the psychotic personality, the use of others fighting their battles instead of putting themselves in harms way. They have a very similar deceptive nature.

<Spoiler> There’s even a scene towards the end of the film that is reminiscent of The Dark Knight where Lex and Superman (who I considered to be much like Christian Bale’s Batman) are on the very top of this building and Lex tries to get him to choose to fight Batman, much like when Ledger’s Joker put a lot of faith in the hopes that people would choose to blow up a boat of other people in order to save themselves. I think that Lex put a lot of faith in Superman choosing to take out Batman for the sole purpose to protect the ones he loved. Much like how the Joker in The Dark Knight thought that Batman would end up wanting to kill Harvey Dent. But towards the near end of the film, <spoiler> despite Batman and Superman’s conflict, they came together for the good of other people (i.e. Superman’s mother).

Now, I’m not a comic book reader by any means, but I didn’t understand why in B v S Batman was the bad guy. He seemed like he was trying to be a super hero for the sole reason to take down Superman. Why would you want to take down Superman? He’s a symbol of patriotism and he saves innocent people’s lives. It’s almost terrorism to try to take him out! Batman didn’t even want to help out others, he was only motivated to benefit himself. I think that he hated the glory that Superman was getting and thought that that should have been him instead. He just seemed like a pest to me throughout the film, yet Superman was throwing him around like a bug. Batman looked so pathetic and desperate to me in his attempts to dethrone Superman. <Spoiler> He didn’t stand a chance to me and the only way he eventually could get a shot at him was if he got his hands on some kryptonite.

I also felt that you could tell that Ben Affleck regretted taking the role of Batman almost immediately. I think he underestimated the task he had trying to live up to Bale’s Batman, yet he couldn’t be the exact same version as his. He seemed pretty lethargic to me throughout the film. He had Alfred do most of the stuff for him (i.e. tinkering around with his weapons etc.), whereas Christian Bale was at least somewhat interested in his weapons and how to learn to use them. Zach Snyder didn’t even cover that piece of it.

Even in interviews about the film, Affleck seems more skeptical of the film than critics are even! I think he feels like his performance wasn’t satisfactory and he had a hard time trying to take a unique performance on Batman’s character. I also think he was a little confused as to where he was going with his character. It’s like he doesn’t want to fight to help others, yet for some reason towards the end of the film he wants to unite super heroes to protect civilization. I just didn’t get that transition of character. I get why he wound up trying to save Superman’s life because he saw that their mother’s had the same name and trying to save Superman’s mother was like trying to save his own mother’s life. But, again to me that’s him using his powers ultimately thinking about himself. And now all of a sudden he has a change of heart and wants to protect all of humanity on Earth? I don’t get that.

Conclusion: I liked the film much more than I thought I would. Maybe those bad reviews were based off of Affleck’s lack of excitement about the film leading up to its release. But, overall is a very solid film.