Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ★★

This was a very exhausting film to watch and review.

As if I didn't already feel that Zack Snyder completely missed the mark on Superman with 2013's Man of Steel, Snyder does it again with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film isn't this god-awful piece of work, no, but rather something incredibly underwhelming and much like Man of Steel, very dull. It's funny when even the most underwhelming Marvel films (Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World) are more entertaining than this. By the time the credits rolled, I felt I watched Dawn of Justice, a precursor to Justice League and not Batman v Superman.

It's not that Batman v Superman is bad because it's too dark and gritty in comparison to Marvel's more light hearted, family fun nature. I honestly would prefer if Marvel took more chances with their films instead of playing safe. Their Netflix television shows Jessica Jones and Daredevil are phenomenal. How come WB/DC can't do the same with their films? Yes, Zack Snyder is a visionary, but after two films in the DCEU, I'm not convinced that him, David S. Goyer and now Chris Terrio understand the characters and story arcs. I am convinced that Zack Snyder is still the wrong man in charge.

It feels like Snyder took the job for Man of Steel just to get involved in the expanded universe and eventually show his version of Batman, though he'll tell you the opposite of course. I was wrong in believing that Zack Snyder would bring an interesting new side to the Caped Crusader, but alas, he nor Goyer and Terrio don't understand the character the way Nolan did, or even Tim Burton (someone who isn't a comic book fan in any way) did.

Yes, the opening sequence featuring the murder of Martha and Thomas Wayne is beautifully shot (seriously, it's stunning in IMAX 3D), but the way the whole origin is done completely wrong. Doesn't hurt that it was unnecessary as we've seen this so many times now either. I don't mind that this new portrayal of Batman is going for something more along the line of the Frank Miller/Dark Knight Returns Batman who is a vigilante veteran of twenty years, grizzled, and just brutally beats the shit out of criminals. It's a new take on the character in comparison to Christian Bale's turn of the character. Of course it's without it's issues as I didn't particularly like seeing Batman brand criminals with his batarang.

What's the problem? They're horrible criminals!

While they are, it just seems too vicious and ruthless even for an angry Batman to do. That's something I'd see The Punisher do before I'd imagine Batman doing such a thing. Then there's the fact that we see this Batman actually using guns and kill (even if it's in a ridiculous Knightmare sequence), which was another issue. Snyder/Goyer/Terrio just don't know how to properly envision this character without turning him in an edgy vigilante.

As for Ben Affleck as The Dark Knight, he's well... He's okay, I guess. I like the look he has for the character, but I can't really say much about his performance or overall character arc due to what he's been forced to work with unfortunately. With a better director and script plus the presence Affleck brings as Batman, I think it'd certainly be something memorable, but it's a shame to see such a great actor work with underwhelming material. Of what there is that I did like, I can say that Affleck makes up for Daredevil.

Henry Cavill has warmed up to me slightly as Superman, though the same issues that were present with the characterization of the character in Man of Steel return once again, except he's been reduced to showing up each time Lois Lane is in danger or putting the character in a series of montages saving people around the world and other catastrophes in slow motion because that's all Zack Snyder knows to do this time around. Superman having to answer for his action in Man of Steel is briefly covered in the first act until it goes up in flames and then it's just Bruce Wayne wanting to kill Superman. Oh and Lex Luthor is somewhere in there.

Speaking of Lex, the one present in the film is some egotistical, eccentric mad scientist that should be in Silicon Valley. He isn't the motherfucker that he is in the comics, no he's just well, Jesse Eisenberg. It's honestly baffling to hear people say that the rooftop scene between Supes and Lex is among the best in the film, when it's just Eisenberg being Eisenberg auditioning for HBO's Silicon Valley. It's very easy to figure out early on that Lex Luthor is behind everything. It's isn't some mystery that has been self manipulated to keep viewers guessing, because the answer's right there.

Let me a take a brief moment here to say that the overall plot to Batman v Superman isn't confusing or convoluted at all. When you think about it, it's fairly simple, but the way it is constructed and the way the film is edited, it is handled in a manner where there's too many subplot present and not enough of what the core plot is. Yes, these subplots tie into the central plot (Lois Lane tooting around Washington D.C., Scoot McNairy's glorified cameo, Diana Prince's involvement, or those horrible Justice League tie-in's), but they do so in a very uncontrolled manner that just take you out of the film. I want to see Batman vs. Superman, not Lex Luthor telling Superman to kill Batman or else he'll kill his mother, and everything else is just Snyder/Goyer/Terrio not giving a fuck about the material at all.

As cool as Wonder Woman was, she's a lot like Ben Affleck's Batman in which there just isn't enough of a lasting impact due to the script being so underwhelming and Zack Snyder not giving a fuck. Gal Gadot just might be a kick ass Wonder Woman, but if the footage from her film is to prove anything, it'll be disappointing too. Amy Adams is a good Lois Lane, but I still don't buy the romance or (lack thereof) chemistry between her and Cavill. It was also fucking infuriating that she is constantly used as a damsel in distress plot device to be saved by Supes.

There's nothing more disappointing than the climax of this film which is a CGI filled sequence. Doomsday had no reason to be here honestly and his presence is only required so Zack Snyder can have his money shot of Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman standing alongside one another ready for battle. It was just an excuse to have an OTT ending action scene for a movie that was already too long and frankly too boring. Bruce Wayne/Batman is hellbent on killing Superman and Clark Kent can't seem to juggle being a normal person and a hero, despite controversy arousing whether he's our protector or our demise with such great power. Superman never answers for his actions, but once he dies in a battle against Doomsday, everyone suddenly loves him.

Speaking of which, the death of Superman is such a landmark in comics and an emotional event that doesn't translate to screen. Superman's death should be emotional and impactful, the way it was in the comics, and hell, even described in Tim Burton's failed Superman Lives. The whole theater should be in tears when the Man of Steel dies, but it's so emotionless and empty when it happens. It doesn't help that this film seems to have at least three different endings so everything is just shuffled around.

Not to mention those awkward as fuck Justice League tie ins which were so cringe worthy, and we're better off being left of the cutting room floor. I don't understand why WB/DC put all their eggs into this basket instead of taking their time like Marvel did to establish their universe. Talk about a rushed product alright. WB/DC should put Geoff Johns in charge of overseeing production in a Kevin Feige like role instead of just handing Snyder the keys to the kingdom.

Now, yes, this a negative review because I just really talked about negatives I found with the film and thus, this review came off as a jumbled mess, but this film was a bit of a jumbled mess, so whatever. It's taken me over an hour to write this and I feel I need to end it soon, before I just go around in circles.

Did the early critic reviews have an effect on me and my viewing? No, I just had a gut feeling this was going to get trashed, so yeah.

Honestly, I would've loved to like this like the rest of these DCEU and Snyder fanboys, but I just can't. Thanks to lifeless direction by Zack Snyder and terrible writing from Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, jarring editing, slow plotting, and disrespect for the comics turned this into an awful five hours at the theater.

Part of me wants to think that maybe WB/DC will finally hit gold with David Ayer's Suicide Squad, but I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be extremely disappointing like BvS.

I can't imagine this R-Rated, three hour cut coming out on Blu Ray being any better than this, but I guess I'll watch that and do a proper review then. Until then, It's good to be back on Letterboxd, I'm just disappointed that it had to be this jumbled mess of a review.

The greatest gladiator match in history? Fuck off...

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