If most of you are like me, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was not just another superhero movie. For 3 years, fans from all across the globe have anticipated this movie’s arrival. On Easter weekend, Batman v Superman felt like a sub-holiday, racking in over $181 million in just 3 days. With all this anticipation, shouldn’t this be regarded as one of the best superhero movies of all time? Most people have had enough time to see the movie so let’s get into review (DISCLAIMER: there will be SPOILERS)
First off, let me be the first to apologize to Ben Affleck. When we all found out who was playing Batman two years ago, I was in the majority that did not agree with him being the choice. My mind was still on a Christian Bale high, and I still had a very bad taste in my mouth from Affleck’s performance in Daredevil. But Affleck was an amazing Batman and an even better Bruce Wayne. His was arguably the best Batman performance I’ve ever seen.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was great for the brief time that we saw her in the movie, and Jeremy Irons was an excellent Alfred. I’ve never been a huge fan of the usual old and useless versions of Alfred that don’t really do much. We already know what to expect from Henry Cavil as Superman so his role didn’t surprise me—this was not too different from his performance in Man of Steel.
The dialogue in the movie was really amazing. You can pick up so many one-liners from Lex Luthor alone. I enjoyed a lot of the adaptations from the comics. My favorite part was Batman’s dream sequence with him having visions of a ravaged world ruled by Superman, only to wake up and receive a warning from a future Flash. It was a great adaptation from the Flashpoint Paradox. This movie really excelled in the action sequences. The visuals were amazing, especially when Batman was fighting villains and taking on Superman. You can’t forget about the music throughout the whole movie either. Hans Zimmer is excellent at creating a score that fits perfectly for every scene.
Batman v Superman was all over the place as far as the story goes. In the first 30 minutes, the movie is going pretty smooth and with a clear direction. They solidly set up the reasons why Batman and Superman dislike each other and their ideologies behind it. After that, though, the movie just took a huge left turn and tried too hard to set up future DC movies. I think that’s my major issue with this film. The movie went through so many different lanes and plot holes just to shoehorn information that prepares us for the Justice League movie.
Another problem was the hype and high expectations. We knew this movie was coming out three years ago. I don’t think the writers or Zack Snyder (director) were fully prepared for the magnitude of this movie. This is the DC attempt to challenge Marvel in the cinematic universe, which is a battle Marvel has been winning for the past seven or eight years. Batman v Superman was supposed to be a power move.
I was not a huge fan of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Seeing as how Eisenberg was not the original choice for Lex Luthor, this was a wildcard to begin with. While he did bring us some of the best lines in the movie, his performance did not sit well with me. Snyder really tried to make Lex appealing and sinister, but it felt forced. I also feel Lois Lane was used way too much in this movie. There were times where she was very necessary to move the plot, but for the most part she played a useless damsel in distress.
My main gripe with the movie is the lack of direction. They pulled too many adaptations from comics, stuffed it all in one film, and it was messy. How do you go from The Dark Knight Returns to Death of Superman in the same movie? Not even to mention the constant Justice League promotional references. I was excited to see Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash but it was forced and should have been a post-credit scene.
Zack Snyder’s Batman was a little too violent for my liking. The Batman that we all know tethers on the line of crazy and malcontent. Throughout this movie were scenes where Batman killed his enemies. In one particular scene, when Batman tried to recover the kryptonite from Lex Luthor’s henchmen, Batman is actually killing these men. He attaches a car to his “Batmobile” and begins flailing it around to get rid of his enemies behind. The Batman we know and love would usually immobilize and capture his enemy but this wasn’t the case. Some would argue that Batman isn’t killing these people intentionally, but these are actual killing nonetheless. I didn’t mind the killing in Batman’s dreams, as I found it a necessary evil for him to take out Superman’s followers. But the Batman that was portrayed as real wasn’t the Bat I have grown to know and love.
Another problem was the setup for the Batman and Superman fight. In the beginning of the movie, the writers set it up perfectly: Batman and Superman hate each other’s ideology. Batman, in particular, fears Superman’s power and wants to get rid of him now before he becomes a bigger issue down the road. Instead of staying with that story though, the writers take this cheesy route and make it all about Lex Luthor blackmailing Superman to get rid of Batman. To me it ruined three whole years of buildup for this fight (kind of like Maywhether/Paquiao).
Overall I feel there will be a lot of people that will really love this movie and overhype it. There will also be those that really hate this movie and completely slam it in order to uplift the success of Marvel. For me, I’m more in the middle, I don’t hate the movie but I also don’t love it. There are spots that are absolutely amazing, but there are spots that are sloppy and need to be removed. The movie excelled in its action sequences and awesome dialogue, but failed in the whole story. The film went in six different directions to tell four different stories. As a fan of comic books I actually recommend you watch the movie and give your own synopsis. Overall Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice deserves a C+.
Written by: Chibuike Anyatonwu (@gatemanchiby)