Release Date: March 25, 2016
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Toa Okamoto, Brandon Spink, Lauren Cohan, Alan D. Purwin, Mark Edward Taylor, Hugh Maguire, Michael Shannon, Hanna Dworkin, Tiffany L. Addison, Owais Ahmed, Anish Jethmalani, Tiffany Bedwell, Natalee Arteaga, Keith D. Gallagher, Jeff Dumas, Miriam Lee, Alicia Regan, Ripley Sobo
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 153 minutes
Production Company: Warner Bros. (presents)(as Warner Bros. Pictures), Atlas Entertainment, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, RatPac-Dune Entertainment (in association with)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Budget: $250,000,000 (estimated
I loved Man of Steel. I feel it delivered on everything it promised and exceeded my well placed expectations. It’s in my top 10 comic book movies of all time and contains some of the best action set pieces ever put on screen. Opinions on the movie are split right down the middle, and I am still confused by all the complaints that film has. At the time, I, along with everyone else, had no idea Man of Steel was the introduction to a new cinematic universe for DC comics. And now director Zack Snyder has returned at the helm pitting the two biggest superheroes of all time in a head to head battle of the century. Other than one trailer that contained some spoilers, all the remaining footage looked like a dream come true. Whether it is or is not may be split down the middle even more, but it is nearly impossible not to have a good time.
As the holy trinity was assembled together with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, I was one of the many that cried out at the casting of Gal Gadot. Her performance in Fast Five was all most had to go on, and wasn’t enough to warrant her as an Amazonian goddess. She appeared too thin, and the exact opposite of a warrior that I knew Princess Diana/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) could be. I was shocked, as most will be, that Gadot ended up being one of the best additions of the entire film. She had such a strong presence in the iconic Wonder Woman costume. Based on this film, if the world was at war I’d pick her to be on my side. I’ve always been a neutral fan of her character, knowing more than most, but not an expert. I now want to dive more into her history to appreciate everything she represents. She looked smart, bold, powerful, and even sexy. When she appeared on screen the audience cheered, and so did I. When in battle she’s a fierce warrior, and the film utilized her skills to the utmost degree with all her signature weapons included. I’m honestly now looking more forward to her solo film than David Ayers’ Suicide Squad.
Another casting that wasn’t too appealing was that of Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). I’m a fan of Eisenberg, but excitement didn’t come over me when I found out the news of his involvement. I trusted in Zack Snyder to pull this off, and I’m glad to say he did. Without spoilers of course, he isn’t the Lex Luthor that’s known from the comics, or any other cartoon, animated movie, or live action adaptation. It was an interesting take that I came to respect, especially towards the end of the film. His character is still extremely manipulative, combined with the persona of an evil genius. Even though some of the arcs the story took regarding his character didn’t add up logically, his character still posed a worthy threat to the protagonists that were a part of this film.
There isn’t much to say about Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) other than he’s great as Superman, and I wish him well. His opponent on the other hand, who’s not as iconic but more popular, is none other than the Dark Knight himself Batman/Bruce Wayne played by Ben Affleck. Affleck is the perfect Batman, but I’m not entirely on board with how they handled the character. The Batman that’s known by the mass public has a code of ethics when he’s fighting the criminals of Gotham City. This film seems to have thrown all those ethics out the door, raising Batman’s brutality to a level never seen before. He just doesn’t care anymore. Granted it’s somewhat understandable that someone may lose their edge after decades of fighting bad guys with little to no return. But if the character has changed so much, show us in the story why and don’t assume the audience knows. Batman is arguably the most popular comic book character of all time. So with a new take on him, all I’s need to be dotted and T’s crossed. Even though the moments of Batman kicking butt was oh so fun, I still feel there were missed opportunities to show how non-lethal and precise his character can be.
Going into the film, it made perfect sense why Batman and Superman would be duking it out. As suggested from the trailers, Bruce Wayne was in the middle of Metropolis to witness all of the destruction caused by the Kryptonians in Man of Steel. Not only was he there, but his building was destroyed and a number of his employees/friends perished from the havoc cause by the Kryptonians. But the film still didn’t present a valid reason for why they still have to go face to face. It made perfect sense in the graphic novel written by Frank Miller, but when the bell rang in this live action film, I only fully understood why one hero was ready to fight all out but not the other. There was barely any build up to the moment. I wanted to see the preparation for the fight and the dialogue that came with it. The fight itself was amazing but would’ve held a more powerful punch if the reason behind it was given and more developed.
One element that shined bright in the film was the reaction of the world and the media to super powered beings roaming the earth (Superman). The split opinion of the people was just as vast as in the real world. Some loved the presence of Superman, while others hated it. And each party had valid arguments for their reasoning, not just blind hatred. This was the bones and meat of the film even though it wasn’t as cohesive as you’d wish for. There were multiple montages of feats by Superman, as the world watched and news anchors voiced over the images, that just made you smile. They were images of the Superman we all know and love constantly flying around the world at the drop of a dime savings lives, backed up by a miraculous score by Hans Zimmer. While these iconic moments were throughout the film raising it to another level, it would soon suddenly stop for poor technical reasoning.
I say that because one of the biggest sins the film commits above all is the editing. There were too many times where everything was flowing smoothly building up to an epic scene with the audience enjoying every second of it, only to have an abrupt edit halt your senses with a long black screen as the film switched to other events. I would say to myself, “No! What happened?! I want to see what happens next and how people react.” This happened from the beginning to the end and ended up feeling like a roller coaster with no seatbelt. Frustration is an understatement. The majority of the first half of the film felt scattered. So many pieces of a puzzle wandering around trying to find the other pieces to make a whole piece. Once that piece was created it was the kind of thing that would make a comic book fan scream out in joy, but most including myself barely had the patience to wait for such triumphant moments.
Some of those moments were pulled off with perfect precision, while the others were train wrecks. The subtitle of the films is “Dawn of Justice,” meaning the Justice League is coming. By far, the Easter eggs included in the film to reference unsaid characters were absolutely horrific. I hated them to say the least. They were forced in and completely unnecessary. In no social setting would such characters reveal themselves in such a manner. And those cameos aren’t the only things that were forced. Again from the trailers the assumed “Batman Dream Sequence” still makes no sense. It didn’t serve the story and only blocked other footage that could’ve been included.
That’s because just like with Man of Steel, Batman v Superman is an extremely slow burn that teases you until the end. The difference is it paid off in the end with Man of Steel, and not as much with Batman v Superman. There was so much action in the former film that it was exhausting, but I’d rather have more than not enough. And while it may appear I didn’t enjoy this film, I did. As a whole it’s all over the place, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good time. The icing on the cake are the events towards the end that bring people together for the greater good. As a comic book fan it was nearly all I wanted. We arrived at the destination, but the journey to get there was fumbled on a number of occasions. Still the cast was great, the score was phenomenal, and the conclusion was a dream come true almost washing away the bad. As a whole it isn’t a complete package, but is enough to hold fans over.