WHEN Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hit cinemas it broke the US and international box office records but made a lot of critics (and some fans) unhappy. But don’t believe the naysayers – BvS is not the greatest superhero movie ever, but it is a fun popcorn flick with great action, sweet visuals and some intense scenes.
While ostensibly a sequel to 2013’s Superman reboot Man of Steel, BvS is really a launching pad for their DC Extended Universe which they hope to rival the multi-million dollar 12-film strong Marvel Cinematic Universe. So to say Warner Bros. had a lot riding on this movie is like saying bungee jumpers in Mexico have a lot riding on their bungee cords holding.
In the film we have Henry Cavill returning as Clark Kent/Superman and Ben Affleck making his debut as Bruce Wayne/Batman. While Cavill does a serviceable job there’s not much to write home to mama about. But Affleck, who had some fans concerned about his cating especially after his last superhero flick, the universally reviled Daredevil, he really gives us our money’s worth.
His Bruce Wayne is dark, moody and haunted and his Batman is brutal, vicious and homicidal. Yes, you read that right – homicidal. Unlike Christopher Nolan’s version this Batman has no “one rule” about not killing and he offs criminals in his machine gun blazing Batmobile and Batwing like Michael Keaton in the first two Bat flicks. Among the many actors to have brought Bats to the big screen Affleck is definitely high up there in terms of quality.
The action scenes where he takes out the baddies is some of the most fun of the entire movie. I want to see Batfleck in his own trilogy of movies, a quadrilogy even. In the Batman/Superman debate I always choose the cooler Batman and during my cinema experience I noted more Batman tee shirts than Superman. So while some people have complained that there was more Batman than Superman in a “Superman” movie I did not mind more Dark Knight than Man of Steel.
And one thing director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) does well is give beautiful action sequences. The highly anticipated battle between Batman and Superman delivers on the epic scale and is like watching a comic book brought to life. The final action scene with the DC “trinity” – Bats, Supes and Wonder Woman – versus the beastly Doomsday is also pretty sweet. When Wonder Woman made her dramatic entrance the crowd in my theatre went wild. While some were worried that Gal Gadot did have the “goods” to deliver the iconic character the Israeli actress gives the Amazon princess a strength, sass and power worthy of her more than seven decade history.
Now the movie is far from perfect. My least favorite part is Jesse Eisenberg as evil businessman and Superman arch nemesis Lex Luthor. Eisenberg is best known for playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network and in BvS it feels like he is playing Mark Zuckerberg playing Lex Luthor. Instead of the charming, intelligent and Machiavellian villain we get a twitching, unstable, sometimes menacing, sometimes foppish, confusing and not compelling character. Like Affleck and Gadot people were worried about Eisenberg’s casting; in his case they were right to be worried. Please Warner Bros., either drastically change his characterisation or recast him. As one of the most well known villain in comics Lex deserves better.
Another worry that proved to be warranted was the penultimate trailer and giving away too much of the movie. While it did not spoil too much there were some moments that would have had more impact and jokes that would have landed better if they had been left for the movie.
Finally the movie features a main plot and three subplots that come together a bit messily. The arc with Lois Lane does not affect the story greatly and it seemed like they just needed something to occupy her.
And what about the promised cameos from the other heroes Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash? While they were interesting, especially Cyborg’s, they don’t feel organic but stuck in just to whet the appetite for Justice League Part 1. With some tightening and trimming, especially in the first act, the movie would have flowed much better.
With many critics pronouncing doom upon BvS I went it with a measure of trepidation, had a jolly old time and came out feeling satisfied. The movie did justice (no pun intended) to the characters (except Lex as I mentioned above), gave some sweet action and left me (and likely many others) wanting a whole lot more.
I may be a diehard Marvel fan boy but DC has drawn me in for their Extended Universe. Learn from your mistakes in BvS and you may begin to give the cinematic world of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk a run for their money.
Rating: I give BvS 2/4 red-caped mangoes.
So what did you think of the movie? Feel free to comment below.
For my look at the Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition trailer you can click here, for my ranking of the top Superman actors you can click here and for my look at the second Wonder Woman trailer you can click here. Julien is up, up and away!