Hey gang, Valkor here. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was one of the most highly anticipated films of 2016. And upon its release unto the masses, it has become one of the most hotly debated films of this year; you either have those who love it, those who hate it or those, like me, who have mixed feelings about the film. I really wanted to love BvS, I truly did, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this could have been something more… something truly amazing… and yet... well, read on! (Heavy spoilers ahead).
“Dawn of Justice” is the direct continuation of events that unfolded in “Man of Steel”, only in this instance we get to see things from Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) perspective, as Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon), rein a path of destruction in the city of Metropolis. Wayne sees the power of what an unchecked Superman could mean not just to Metropolis but the world, and a seed of distrust begins to form. From there the film splits into three paths that seamlessly come together towards the end. The first path would be Superman, but you could say his and Lex's path run together; we see the aftermath of “Man of Steel” (months later) as we deal with Superman’s “godhood” and his role amongst the human race. Is he the hero the world truly needs or a menace to our very existence? An example of this happens just after the film’s opening/recap where Lois Lane (Amy Adams), ventures into a terrorist’s hideout and just before she’s killed, Superman comes to her rescue. But in doing so, innocent lives were lost. Enter Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), whose people just discovered a rock that just so happens to have a connection with Superman’s Kryptonian physiology – it weakens him! But the law won’t allow him to bring it in. But it doesn’t matter because he’s bringing it in anyway. On top of that, he’s given access to Zod’s ship as well as his body.
We move onward to Batman, who is dishing out his “brand” of justice in Gotham City – and I mean that literally as he’s branding criminals with his logo. And I do believe he’s killed some people… yea I think he did. Clark Kent wants to cover Batman’s wave of vigilantism. However, it’s strongly objected by Perry White (Laurence Fishburne). But that’s not gonna stop Kent from looking into it. Back to Batman, Bruce is on the hunt for someone known as the “White Portuguese”, which leads him to Lex. And using Lex’s party as a ruse to do some undercover work, Wayne attaches a box to the buildings wiring that steals encrypted data from Lex’s server. But when he goes to retrieve the box when it’s done, he discovers that it’s been taken – by none other than Diana Prince (Gal Gadot). She believes the box contains an image that belongs to her. However, when Bruce gets the box back, he finds out that it not only belongs to her, but the image is her! There’s also information on other metahumans, whose logos will look very familiar when you see them. Later in the film, we get to see just what’s behind those logos, which gives us a sneak peek at the future of the DC cinematic universe.
Now I’m jumping around a lot with the story, however, the film does that in spades. So, when does the “vs” part kick in? To make a long story short, every event leading up to the big faceoff, which includes that explosive end battle, is entirely orchestrated by Lex – the terrorist outpost in Africa, involving Lois? Lex! The taunting of Bruce Wayne? Lex! Doomsday creation and unleashing onto Metropolis? Also Lex! Batman facing off against Superman? Orchestrated by none other than Lex Luthor! The trailer leads you to believe that maybe Superman was under some mind control or he went rogue. And it's Batman who would have to deal with the issue (the bit with the soldiers bowing down to Superman was actually a dream sequence). It’s only when Bruce steals the kryptonite from Lex and incorporates it into a spear weapon is when the two faceoff. And they really go at, until they're made to realize that the fight isn’t about them. And it's at that point that they come together for the real fight – the fight against Doomsday! And this is the money shot! When the DC Triad of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman throw down with one of the toughest of DC villains! And woooo! Do they throw down!
While there weren’t any post-credit sequences, the film doesn’t end without giving us some knowledge of whom or what’s lies ahead in the upcoming Justice League film without directly saying who or what it is. However, there are enough hints sprinkled throughout that tells us what to expect. And I believe the pic below is very related!
First up, this is “Batman v Superman”, Batman and Superman TOGETHER, on the live-action screen, for the first time ever! And good or bad, there’s no way, no chance in hell I’d pass on this! While I have some misgivings about the film, I wasn’t entirely disappointed with “Dawn of Justice”; the story drags in many areas, but it's a great continuation of ‘Man of Steel”. And I can see why the film isn't called “Man of Steel 2”, and it's simply because the film isn’t entirely about Superman; rather it's a film with a number of elements brought together to make one cohesive viewing experience. Plus the fact that the glue to the entire film was the orchestration of Lex is a cinematic genius! Dare I say, it's on the same level as “The Usual Suspects”? It certainly comes close! The story is also a wonderful balance of screen time between Bats, Supes and even Lex, with no one person overshadowing the other. We get to see the struggles of what Kent and Wayne have to endure – one trying to find his place and the other who will eventually face-off against a god. We get to see Lex’s rise and eventual fall, plus we get to see what is on the horizon in the DC Cinematic Universe. It took two years plus for Zack Snyder and co to bring their story to the big screen and for the most part, I think it was time well spent with a decent amount of payoff. The action sequences were amazing, and they feel like action panels of a comic book brought to celluloid life! They’re HUGE with so much punch that you can feel it! Batman wailing on Supes and the trio facing off against Doomsday is phenomenal! Sure the first hour and change is slow and at times maybe even boring, but it all builds up to those two insane battles, which make the ride getting there totally worth it! Now we’ve already seen what Cavill brings to the table as Superman (and he rocks by the way), but I was curious to see how Affleck’s portrayal of Batman would work. And he works out rather well. Mind you, I’m still a huge Bale fan and I think his portrayal of both Batman and Bruce Wayne was spot-on. However, Ben did not disappoint giving us an older and grittier version, bringing to life his counterpart from the “Dark Knight Returns” books by Frank Miller. Any and every scene that we get to see Bruce or Batman was terrific! Moving on, I’ll admit I was against the idea of Gal Gadot’s version of Wonder woman because I thought she was just too thin for the role, but she put her heart into this one and it truly pays off because daaaaaaamn she was impressive! I still would have liked someone with a bit more bulk, but Gadot’s version is an awesome blend of power and sexy. Finally, kudos goes to Jeremy Irons as Alfred, who I always thought was casting perfection from the jump. His on-screen chemistry with Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is the stuff of legend – together the two are a true dynamic duo! There’s a lot to like about “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, so what’s the downside?
First up, the film is way too preachy and in your face with the whole gods and men” and Superman’s role amongst human civilization: is he man or god and so on and so forth. I get it! Especially coming from events in Man of Steel, I get it, but it didn’t need to be shoved down our throats as much as it does, which was time that could have been tossed at Affleck to fit into the whole “vs” aspect of the film. And that’s my second complaint; while I think Affleck was given a decent amount of screen time, I think it was wasted on him doing other stuff other than learning more about Supes, which should have been priority number one. Lois Lane did as much when she learned about this new superpowered being and quickly discovered all that she needed to know. So Bruce Wayne couldn’t follow a similar path? He's fucking Bruce Wayne, detective extraordinaire! He should have easily figured out who Superman was and worked that towards his advantage. Yet, he lets Lex do most of the work for him. The pacing was terrible and there’s so much in the film that could have been cut out to make this 2hour and 35minute spectacle a much smoother experience; it’s so bad that I found myself nodding off way more than I should at a comic book movie, especially one that I was really looking forward to seeing. Final, my biggest negative goes to Jesse Eisenberg, who I feel is THE WORST Lex Luthor to ever grace the screen. I’m sorry, but he was way over the top and far too comical for the serious tone of this film. You could argue that it lightens things up, but it’s way too corny and far too silly for my taste. I know Eisenberg has some acting skill, but his Lex is so cringeworthy bad that I can’t imagine sitting through this again. And yet I will because I wanna see that “R-rated” director’s cut.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is making the theatrical rounds, and it’s the film that many a fan has been asking for, but ultimately not the film we were expecting. While the film contains a lot of bad, there’s also plenty of good that saves it from being a complete disappointment. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “Dawn of Justice” a 2.5.