Release Date: March 25, 2016
Running Time: 3 hours 2 minutes (regular cut is 2 hours 31 minutes)
“It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s colossal battle with Zod devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne. Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.”
Because of the anticipated release of Justice League on Friday November 17, I’ve decided to write reviews of all of the movies that make up the DC Extended Universe so far. There have been a lot of talks about how long this franchise will last, but as a comic book fan, and huge lover of movies, I never want movies to be bad. I’m hoping that it’ll be amazing. You can find the dates for when the reviews for the other DCEU movie will be released at the link here. I wrote the review for Wonder Woman around the time it came out, and it can be found here.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer –
Source: Warner Brothers Entertainment
Cast & Crew
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was directed by Zack Snyder, who I’ve already summarized his previous work and work since in the Man of Steel Review.
It was written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer. I’ve already mentioned Goyer’s work as well in the Man of Steel Review, as such I will go over Terrio’s work. Chris Terrio previously wrote the 2012 film ‘Argo’, and has since worked on the Justice League movie, the sequel to that movie will be released in the future, and Star Wars: Episode IX set to be released in 2019.
Cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Callan Mulvey, Scoot McNairy, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Kevin Costner, Ray Fisher, Jena Malone, Ezra Miller, Michael Shannon, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
I will start by saying that I find the idea of Batman and Superman fighting for any reason to be kind of silly, but I was interested in the idea. If this movie would have been just Batman v Superman, and not ‘Dawn of Justice’, I think that this movie would have been a much better film, and wouldn’t have split the audience as much. There were too many rushed storylines in the overall film, and making everything a little convenient, and stupid. They made Lex Luthor a joke for over half the movie, and then made him somehow have little surveillance clips that featured Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg that he had managed to get, implying that he knows everyone’s identity.
He also neatly put the clips into nice little folders with each hero’s respective logo as the folder picture. That is one of the worst ways that they could have done that. It’s something that I can’t comprehend the reasoning behind it, other than ‘we need to introduce them, instead of following the ‘Marvel method’ and bring them in via separate films, let’s cram them all in one movie before the big team up’. It’s one of the dumbest moves that DC has done, and I still can’t understand how it got put into the movie.
The fact that he also knows who Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman really are is something that is both dumbfounding as well as overreaching. It’s something that I feel that ruined the movie for a lot of people, and they tried to fix that at the end, by making him crazy and in prison. I feel like because of all the things mentioned above, it was too for this one movie, and should have been explored in a grander arc of films. The short clips of the characters were interesting in what we saw, but wasn’t worth cramming them all in.
A weird decision that I don’t understand was that the filmmakers decided that they were going to give Bruce Wayne prophetic dreams? It’s something that’s very difficult to comprehend, and that they don’t really explore much in this film. He sees ??? that we will be seeing in Justice League, and sees the Flash in a surprise cameo that could have been a dream? I’m still not 100% sure, and I’ve watched this film roughly 8 or 9 times since it was released.
One thing that is confusing with the surprise cameo by the Flash from the future, was because of the other ‘dream sequences’ that Bruce has experienced in the movie to this point, is that I’m not entirely sure if that actually happened, as Bruce ‘wakes up’, after The Flash disappears back into the future.
The standout performance in this movie was Ben Affleck as a much older Bruce Wayne / Batman than we’ve had in the past. He was charming when he needed to be, while also being able to display the brutalness that the character had developed over 20 years of crime fighting in Gotham. There’s not much to say about his performance than it was extremely well done, and I will be disappointed if ever they recast him as some rumours are stating.
I really enjoyed Jeremy Irons’ take on Alfred in this film. He was funny, witty, harsh on Bruce, and still trying to teach him lessons. I also enjoyed that they made him part of Batman’s team, in helping him with the suits and the vehicles. It really showed the relationship between the two as the only meaningful one that Bruce has with anyone.
The other character who stole all of the scenes was one of the most controversial casting decisions that DC had at the time with Gal Gadot being cast as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman. That decision turned out to be genius as she did a very good job in this film with what she was given, while also following this performance with the movie that was widely praised by audiences and critics alike in her solo film.
The casting of Eisenberg in the role of Lex Luthor, was in my opinion one of the oddest casting decisions that they made. His portrayal of Lex was creepy (Jolly Rancher scene), and father obsessed. I understand the choice of making him a sort of ‘modern day business man’, however I feel like it didn’t work at all in this film, and I hope that they correct that in future films.
Henry Cavill did a better job at showing the many sides of Clark Kent and Superman in this movie than he did in his first shot at the character, and I must commend him in his improvement as an actor and at how he managed to make the two characters different than one another.
The Lois Lane character was better handled in this movie, and while she still played a big part in the movie, she wasn’t integral to the advancing the story. I think that Amy Adams did a better job, and had a better feel for the character in this movie.
Using General Zod to be the one that ‘becomes’ Doomsday was another very questionable decision that the people in charge made. I feel like they had very little inspiration from the thousands of comics detailing his origin and purpose, and decided to use a Kryptonian that they already had introduced.
There were way too many subplots in this movie that made this movie a mess in my opinion. There was the plotline that featured Bruce Wayne’s employee deciding that he didn’t want Wayne’s money after he had helped him, which lead to him being used by Luthor. There was the whole African village plot where there’s a woman that lied to the Senate to make Superman look bad. There’s the fun fact that I’ve mentioned where Luthor somehow knows everyone’s secret identity. There’s Diana Prince / Wonder Woman that knows that Luthor has a picture of her from 1918. There’s the Superman is a menace subplot. There’s the underlying subplot that Batman has already lost a lot of people in his life and has faced many of the villains from his comic books. There’s the death of the Waynes. There’s the weird and badly executed ‘reason to stop fighting each other / bonding moment’ between the titular heroes of the film. The Doomsday plotline that uses the body of General Zod and Luthor’s blood to create him, as well as the set up for Justice League. That was exhausting just typing that all out, and I’m sure I missed a few as well.
The music in this film followed the theme that Man of Steel had started, and featured a strong score, as well as introduced a few new themes for Batman and Wonder Woman. The music was a bit much at certain times, using the Wonder Woman theme several times over and over again, no matter how good it was. At the end of the day, Hans Zimmer once again did a good job with the music for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with the help of Junkie XL.
The Batman in this movie, is very much a Batman that has been through some shit. He has become brutal after the events that transpired in Metropolis, and the fact that he was branding people, knowing that it would lead them to their death is something that was especially cruel. His fighting style against the people who took Martha was also extremely brutal, and it shows that this version of Batman has no problem with killing people. It’s something that was almost as controversial as Superman breaking General Zod’s neck with his bare hands.
The car chases in this movie was fun, and cool to watch from that viewpoint, but I feel like it paled in comparison to the Nolan films in what they did with the Bat vehicles. There was 2 cool parts with the vehicles and that’s when he flipped a car onto another car somehow, and having Alfred control the Bat Plane in a drone mode.
The final fight between Batman and Superman was surprisingly well done. I feel like if Superman would have opened with ‘Bruce, Lex has my mother’ rather than ‘there’s no time for this’, then the fight would have been avoided, however that’s just logical. The fight itself really showed Batman’s resourcefulness and intelligence that he had planned most of the fight, and had actually managed to beat Superman in the fight is something that hurts a lot of fanboys, because if Superman would have wanted (as he says), Bruce would have been neutralized right away.
The final fight between the Trio (Wonder Woman, Batman & Superman) and Doomsday was something that was fun, while also something that I’ve mentioned over and over again as something that should have been done in a separate film. The fight was fun to watch, and the arrival of Wonder Woman was great, especially the use of her new theme. I enjoyed watching Wonder Woman be happy that she was having a ‘real fight’, and could have some fun.
The Death of Superman, a popular comic book storyline was sadly butchered in this movie. This is something that should have had its own movie to display the whole story that they could have done with the characters. The death of Superman due to the Kryptonian spear and Doomsday was well executed in the visual aspect of the movie, but people didn’t get to really get to care for the character in the way that they might have wanted them to. Everyone knows that he will be coming back in Justice League, even if most of the promotional material doesn’t show him, it’s a given. It’s one of the things that I don’t even consider a spoiler, because it should be common knowledge by now. They can’t bring the Justice League together for the first time on the big screen without Superman.
The hinting of Bruce putting a team together in honour of Superman’s sacrifice is something that will be further explored in the Justice League movie that comes out this week, and I really want this movie to be good.
Overall, the movie had a fantastic Bruce Wayne / Batman as well as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, who both stole every scene that they were in, while the movie was a mess story wise and trying to do too much. As I mentioned above, this movie should have either been spread out into two films (not in a part 1 + part 2, but two separate movies), and I feel it would have been done much better, and both movies could have been developed a bit better where the stories wouldn’t have been too jumbled up. While I did enjoy the movie, I didn’t love it or hate it, this movie was sadly just an okay film with a lot of potential that was wasted. At the end of the day, I don’t think I can give this film a score higher than 6.75/10.
What did you think of Batman v Superman? Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Suicide Squad. Are you excited for Justice League? Let me know in the comment section below!
Thanks for reading,