After taking some time to fully process everything Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice had to offer I can honestly say that the movie was in fact bad.
Given two and a half hours to deliver a truly amazing story of the Gotham vigilante butting heads with the son of Krypton, Warner Bros and DC entertainment totally missed the mark in favor of some ridiculous god vs man story that still misses the point it tries to make. As a whole the movie had a lot of faults, but there were a few positive that everyone should appreciate.
Here is my Pro and Con list/review for Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice
Alfred was so on point it’s not even funny. The billionaire butler has always been a capable master of sass, and sarcasm, always ready to provide assistance to the Batman in all his endeavors, or a witty comeback. Jeremy Irons excels in the role making many of the more arduous Bat-scenes actually enjoyable.
Despite many doubts, my own included, Ben Affleck delivers in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Affleck manages to bring life to the character in a meaningful way despite being restrained by a poorly written script and sloppy direction.
Gal Gadot was flawless, as the high society woman Diana Prince, and Amazon warrior Wonder Woman. She brought her A-game, demonstrating why Wonder Woman is now and forever one of the greatest heroes of all time. Even though I myself questioned her relevance to the movie, I must say without her this movie may not have had a leg to stand on.
For the record, I am a little baffled at why he was used, BUT I am so appreciative of the way in which he was. Circumstances aside, the use of Zod’s body to create Doomsday was an iffy call, but in using the Kryptonian ship to genetically alter and build on the base Kryptonian to regenerate him into the creature that brought about the epic battle we all needed to actually enjoy this film has genuinely earned the studio some originality points.
We all know Martha Kent, adoptive mother of the son of Krypton. We also know of Bruce’s mother Martha Wayne who was tragically murdered in his youth. How many of us have ever really made the connection that they both have the same name? I never have. I was honestly floored, not only because they brought this to my attention but also because they did it in a truly meaningful way to create a connection between both men. This was a moment that made everyone pay attention and deserves to be commended.
Dawn of the Justice League
Meta-humans are established. The movie is sloppy and scattered but truly lives up the ‘Dawn of Justice’ title with the manner in which it introduces the other heroes. While it can feel like just a random drop in while watching the scene you can tell it’s a drop in with purpose and it serves that purpose well. The scene shows the existence of notable DC heroes and in some cases their origin, removing the need for certain explanation later on while simultaneously piquing the interest of many. Let’s face it, if you didn’t get pumped at Aquaman taking out those drones the birth of Cyborg got you. Well done.
The movie lacks a proper flow. The bulk of the film consists of over dramatic scenes that do not transition well into one another. The scenes on their own may well have been solid but the disjointed feeling garnered from the seemingly random jumps are so messy that even if you’re able to follow what’s going on you feel a bit lost.
The script is so shoddy. With the exception of a few characters the entire script feels mismatched and predictable. Too many times you can catch characters saying things that don’t match up with who they are or the situation.
What is a timeline?
So, Batman has been in action for 20 years. This is a fact that is only pointed out IN PASSING near the end of the movie. So many things start adding up once this is pointed out buy why at the end? They tried to backtrack to the events of Man of Steel to show you what Bruce was up to but how does that equate to what is happening now? Why does every step forward make you feel the need to backtrack with 20 more questions that are in no way answered?
Are you Lex Luthor or the Joker?
Jessie Eisenberg, as usual, delivers an amazing performance but for comic fans in particular it was not as enjoyable as it should be. The manic behavior, laughter and scheming along with all the juvenile stunts and games are more reminiscent of The Joker character than they are of Lex Luthor. Luthor is known for his calm, confident personality. His persona is that of an untouchable business mastermind who, while sketchy, is irreproachable because of his tactical plays. None of this translates over to this movie adaptation of the iconic villain. Sorry Jessie but Jared Leto already landed the role and he appears to be doing a great job. Better luck next time
Is Martha all you got?
Like I said, the whole “Martha” moment was interesting and innovative but is that what you’re going to bank on? The scene has a lot of shock value to be sure but the instant-best-friends-because-our-mom’s-have-the-same-name thing is kind of shallow and seriously unrealistic. It also doesn’t help that this is the moment that makes people start paying attention. If a coincidental name is the best turning point you can muster you just know that something went wrong along the way.
What is a secret identity?
Luthor knows Clark is Superman. How did that happen? Why did that happen? Yes the movie TRIES to make it clear that Lex has spent quite some time researching Superman and meta humans but to have the secret of identity stripped away in this first encounter between to-be longtime enemies simple robs this and future stories of one of the more powerful aspects of the superman mythos. I’m not even going to get into all the other identity bubbles popped. Let’s just call it a mess.
Dawn of Justice? Yes. Batman vs. Superman? Not so much.
The movie was promoted as this epic battle between these iconic characters but in the end the battle itself wasn’t even significant. It’s really clear to anyone who watched the movie that the goal was to set up for the upcoming Justice League film in the near future and that’s fine. Honestly it is. What’s not cool is the blatant abuse of Batman and Superman’s individual popularities in a deceitful, yet sadly successful, attempt to garner support and popularity for the movie. The movie is blatant false advertising that plays on the legacy of Batman and Superman content that came before.
What’s really going on?
Why is Batman so gullible? Why doesn’t Superman make rational decisions? How does Lois show up at every point of significant impact thorough out the film? What cause was Lex really fighting for? When making a movie adaptation it’s always nice to see what new takes on known characters can be done but at the very least can things make sense or at least be explained?
I thought we were dealing with superheroes?
The movie ABUSES the God vs Man trope. To begin with people’s negative opinions on Superman while reasonable at their core are greatly exaggerated in discussion throughout the film. The movie emphasizes how powerful he is and blatantly labels him a god again and again and again, relegating Batman to the role of “man”. The movie doesn’t read as a superhero epic at all and honestly hinges on a religious debate.
The movie reads as a messy attempt to take advantage of people’s love for Batman and Superman. It honestly isn’t worth it unless you’re a die hard DC Fanatic and even then you have to be open minded enough to appreciate some of the wiser manipulations of comic book lore and the bits of originality displayed. I myself as a comic fan appreciated the setup they did for future movies via Bruce’s tormented dream which featured the Flash but it still fell short because of the sloppy direction of the movie itself.
Wait for that one friend to get a copy if you feel like you need to see it but please try not to pump money into a machine that doesn’t care about the content or the fans as much as it does about making money and competing with everything Marvel has already accomplished with the MCU.
Be sure to check out the review commentary video I did with Q to hear more about our experience with this particular disappointment.