Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice Is In Such A Hurry To Introduce The DC Cinematic Universe It Forgets To World Build
Title: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Director: Zack Snyder
Screenwriter: Chris Terrio (written by), David S. Goyer (written by), Bob Kane (Batman created by), Bill Finger (Batman created by), Jerry Siegel (Superman created by), and Joe Shuster (Superman created by)
Principal Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, and Holly Hunter
Summary: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel while the world wonders what kind of hero it really needs.
The year is 2013 and I’m writing an independant review blog where I would drag my friends to the various movies I wanted to review on my own time. One of those movies was Man of Steel. I like to think that I can form a coherent opinion fairly quickly otherwise I wouldn’t be very good at this job, but Man of Steel is a movie where my initial opinion turned out not to be very accurate. When I first saw the movie I thought it was pretty good but as time has gone on the movie has only dropped in my mind. I can’t make it through a re-watch at all. When I saw the trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice I got a bad feeling simply because it looked like more Man of Steel. The marketing campaign also reminded me of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which ended up being a garbage movie. It got so bad I was convinced my expectations would be so low I’d end up liking the movie.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice might have the spectacle of two of the biggest names in comics punching each other but a disjointed and overly stuffed story practically kneecaps the entire production.
Allow me to preface that I don’t think Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a bad movie per say. I think I liked it more than Man of Steel but not by much. I must also say that what I didn’t like about this movie has nothing to do with the actors. I would like the haters of the world to calm down because Ben Affleck is quite good as Batman. He really captures a Batman that is just done with this entire world. He’s also a Batman who doesn’t mind killing people or using guns which I imagine is going to make purists mad. Henry Cavill is also great as Superman. He looks like he was carved from stone and we really get an understanding of his conflicting regarding consequences from his actions, even if he was doing the right thing. All of the rumors about Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor stealing the show are very true. Wonder Woman’s appearances, though brief in this movie, have made me so much more excited for her solo movie next year. While Eisenberg is a radical departure from classic Lex Luthor, his mannerisms are fascinating to watch if nothing else.
My issue with the movie can be blamed entirely on the writers, and in particular David Goyer. I want to take Goyer away from my superhero movies because as he continues to ruin each one I want to slap his hand away. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is trying to be way too many things at once and the movie suffers for it. It’s a Man of Steel sequel, a Justice League prequel, an original story for a Batman movie while also setting up no less than four other members of the Justice League. All of these pieces do not fit together at all. The movie is a punishing two hours and forty minutes long, and when I want to look at my watch to check the time you have a serious pacing problem. The fight between Batman and Superman that the marketing has focused so heavily on is maybe ten minutes long. It’s a fairly interesting fight when it is happening but it feels very anti climatic by the end. The entire movie is quite dark and dower, and while I don’t expect every superhero movie to be brightly colored thus far the DC movies haven’t been fun to watch.
There are two things about this movie that are going to have a lasting effect on me. One is the ending and how much it annoyed me, but to get into that would be a huge spoiler. The other is how concerned I am for the Justice League movie. There are only two movies between this and the Justice League movie. One of them is which we will have little to do with the Justice League. The other is Wonder Woman which takes place during World War I and won’t have much to do with Justice League. I’m not saying that DC had to take the same route as Marvel, but there is almost no foundation to build a world on. This movie is trying to create the DC Cinematic Universe without taking the time to do any actual world building.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has done the impossible and brought two of the biggest names in comics to the big screen. The story that they are ultimately featured in is a mess, though, and the flaws are far too large for me to ignore. The women in the movie are either plot devices or damsels in distress, the big fight between Superman and Batman could have been solved with a thirty second conversation and ultimately DC/WB seems more concerned with having their characters present rather than creating a world for those characters to exist in. The credits rolled and all I could say was “whatever” because that was the word that summed up my thoughts.