Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an Entertaining but Flawed Mess
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Based on Characters published by DC Comics
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot
Running time 152 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality.
When General Zod crashed to Earth in a ferocious battle that left most of Metropolis in ruin one man took it personally. When Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill) destroyed Wayne tower in front of Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) eyes, killing hundreds of his employees, Bruce Wayne developed something of a grudge. From that point on he bent all his attention to finding a way to stop the god-like Man of Steel with help from his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons). But he is not the only one intent on bringing Superman down, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has also vowed to bring him crashing down to earth, permanently. Caught in the middle of this war are reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams), and a mysterious woman named Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), and the world will never be the same.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has some serious flaws, not the least of which is the overabundance of plot, and sub-plot. However, that did not stop me from enjoying it, but it did keep me from loving it, and I should have loved this movie. There is little that stings a comic book and film geek more than a comic-book movie that fails to live up to the potential its subject matter possesses. In the interest in full disclosure, Batman is not just one of my favorite comic book characters, but my favorite superhero. Put Batman in a Television show, Movie, or Book, and I am pre-sold, half the job is done, the other half is delivering a solid story and character. In that respect, Dawn of Justice delivered a solid Bruce Wayne and Batman character, Batman’s story on the other hand was too busy and messy for me. Superman’s character was as solid as it was in Man of Steel, he was slightly more developed and complex, but only slightly, which made him only marginally more interesting for me, but I have never found that character compelling, so I was satisfied there.
Due to the nature of this film, it is difficult to discuss its merits, or its faults, fully without venturing into spoiler territory, but I will do my best. There is plenty to love in this movie, Batman, Lex, Wonder Woman. There is also plenty that left me wondering what Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio, and David Goyer, were thinking, such as, some groan-worthy dialogue, dream sequences, multiple-subplots without satisfying payouts or no payout at all. Worst of all was the initial script from David Goyer played like he copy and pasted panels and plot points from many of DC’s most popular Batman, Superman, and Justice League, comic story-arcs.
In spite of these faults, and that for all of its complexity this film moves startlingly slowly, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not bad. It is not only watchable, but also enjoyable, thanks to the intervention of screenwriter Chris Terrio, who was called in to repair Goyer’s initial screenplay. While Snyder had an obvious vision for this film, and where he would like the franchise to go, it would have been much better if this vision began in Man of Steel, rather than as the afterthought Dawn of Justice felt like. Still Snyder managed to not only pack this film to the breaking point, but managed to drive it home in one piece. One final recommendation, this film requires more than a single viewing, and it is likely that the extended director’s cut will help with the exposition, but we will all have to wait to see if those additions help, or hurt the film.