REVIEW — “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (Second Opinion)
There are many who wrote off Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as a hurried, bloated disaster – myself included. The footage, reports and rumors regarding this production did little to excite – making it easy to jump on the bandwagon and dismiss this film as a failure before it was even released. Fans can rest easy; however, for having seen the finished product I can confirm that (aside from its title) BvS:DoJ does not suck.
Now, I recognize “not sucking” isn’t much of a glowing endorsement, but it is far from the epic mess that many believed it would be. In fact, it is an incredible accomplishment for director Zack Snyder and writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer. They managed to pull off what was seemingly impossible and not only succeeded, but also generated enough excitement by film’s end to support their full slate of upcoming DC superhero films.
In BvS, they successfully brought three of the world’s most iconic superheroes (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) together in one film without diluting the story or convoluting the plot. Each character has their moment to shine and their actions and motivations make sense.
Although the film features way more Bruce Wayne than Batman, when the Dark Knight shows up he does not disappoint. Over the years we’ve been given damaged Batman, playboy Batman, and reluctant Batman. Now we have angry Batman. Ben Affleck’s Batman is the embodiment of rage and shows no mercy.
Marking the character’s big screen debut, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman received the most applause when she arrived in full costume and ready to rumble. The film also teases a look of what we can expect from her solo film due in 2017.
Much attention is being given to Affleck and Gadot’s performances. As magnificent as they are, one person not getting enough praise is Henry Cavill who shows the most growth as both Clark Kent and Superman. In what could have amounted to a supporting role in his own sequel, Cavill shines as he is torn by the weight of his destructive actions against his responsibility to protect his adoptive planet, his mother, and his love, Lois Lane.
While a bit underdeveloped, Jesse Eisenberg’s madly eccentric Lex Luthor channels pure evil in a powerful scene that brings the Man of Steel to his knees.
The biggest surprise is that BvS is a true sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel. The filmmakers took note of the controversy surrounding that film’s destructive finale and addressed its ramifications head-on. The fallout of Superman’s actions resonate throughout the film – which necessitates the lengthy run time of 2 hours, 33 min. Despite its length, the story is never boring or predictable and maintains a solid pace while effectively teasing the larger universe and characters to come.
I’ll admit there were a few advantages that factored into my enjoyment of this movie; I saw it with a large crowd of excited fans who all wanted this movie to be good, I saw it in true IMAX which made the experience immersive and larger than life, and I saw it with the lowest of expectations, so anything better than horrible was a welcomed surprise.
Ultimately, we should all just be happy they didn’t screw it up. Because the potential was definitely there. It also didn’t help that DC constantly faced the uphill battle of being unfairly compared to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, with BvS being pitted against Captain America: Civil War ever since they were both announced.
It’s easy to point to Marvel’s successful strategy as the gold standard of adapting and uniting comic book characters on the big screen, however the DC versus Marvel argument is pointless. In that type of battle, we are the winners. It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a comic book fan, because all our heroes are finally receiving their well-deserved on-screen justice.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice succeeds at introducing new versions of beloved characters and naturally bringing them together without first having solo films. It’s something many said could not be done, but it simply works. What was expected to be Spiderman 3 level, franchise-ending garbage, turned out to be exactly what the fans and its filmmakers wanted: The Dawn of Justice. 3.5/5
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, rated PG-13, opens in theaters Friday.