Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Possibly the most exciting superhero movie title we have seen to date. However, the question has been raised – does the movie live up to its title?
This is a harder question to answer than I first thought. My initial reaction was to say no, no it wasn’t. The reviews have been harsh (My favourite being Batman v Superman: Yawn of Justice), the plot was a little all over the place, and more importantly it was missing some crucial components to the characters. However there was a lot of good in the movie as well, so I think it’s time to break down the good and the bad of Batman V Superman.
SPOILERS AHEAD! TURN BACK NOW OR FOREVER HAVE THE MOVIE SPOILED
I’m going to start with some things that I didn’t like. We all know the story of how Batman became Batman. As a young Bruce went to the theatre with his parents, where he got scared when he saw bats. So being the loving parents Mr and Mrs Wayne were, they snuck out the side of the theatre with young master Bruce, right into crime alley. Here is where they ran into a mugger, who accidentally shot Mr and Mrs Wayne. Bruce then blamed himself for the death of his parents because he wasn’t able to overcome his fear, from that moment on he vowed to control his fear and protect the citizens of Gotham. This is a nobel beginning to the silent protector of Gotham… However it was not how things went down in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this rendition, the Wayne’s are happily walking along a main street of Gotham (granted you can see the theatre in the background) when out of nowhere a man steps in front of them, shoots Mr Wayne and then shoots Mrs Wayne, leaving Bruce stunned until the funeral where he runs way and falls down a hole. This hole is filled with bats who begin to swirl around Bruce. He then begins to fly out of the hole with the help of the bats before waking up from a dream sequence.
This brings us to the next issue of the movie, the dream sequences. Firstly there are far too many of them, including an Inception-esk moment where there was a dream within a dream. Neither of theses dreams have anything to do with the story line (other than re-enforcing Batman’s paranoia of Superman). The dream sequences end up getting tangled into flash backs (as seen in the Wayne’s death scene) and generally add nothing to the over all progression of the story line.
The story line itself is another big issue I have with this particular film, well it’s more the story lines (plural), there are too many of them. We have 5 introductions before the film really starts (Superman’s intro, Batman’s intro, Lois Lane’s intro, Lex Luthor’s intro, and finally the reason behind why batman doesn’t like superman intro) by the time the introduction scenes are over you forget what has happened in the first introduction scene. This all happens before we even think about introducing Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League. We are then introduced later on to Doomsday, and then at the very end of the movie another villain is mentioned. Over all this movie tries to cram to much into the movie. I understand why they do this, they are using this as a launch pad for the future Justice League movies, but I disagree with sacrificing a movie for the sake of future movies.
And finally the last issue I have with this movie is how the conflict between Batman and Superman is written. In the comics Batman and Superman have fought many times. In Frank Millers Dark Knight Returns, Superman is sent to kill Batman due to Batman’s showing up the president of the United States. In Jeph Leob’s Batman:Hush, Superman is under the mind control powers of Poison Ivy’s ‘Kiss’. All of these stay true to the characters, Superman doing things the right ‘American’ way, and Batman fighting for justice in his own way. Both heroes are nobel in their cause. However in Snyder’s version they become jealous school boys who are trying to prove they have the biggest muscles. For me this takes away from the core of these characters. This isn’t the fault of the actors however.
Time for the good! I loved how the actors portrayed their characters. Jesse Eisenberg did a brilliant job as Lex Luthor. While not a traditional Lex that the audience is used to, I believe we walked a line in-between the characters of Lex and the Joker, being simultaneously Superman’s and Batman’s rival. I also enjoyed Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman, this batman is older and hardier than the previous versions we have seen. This makes him battle worn and more experienced, which I believe led to an exciting new addition to the Batmen. Finally Henry Cavill is an incredible superman, he is able to play the glorified boy scout role perfectly, all muscle, truth and justice. It’s unfortunate that these actors weren’t given a better script and story line to work with, but I am excited to see what is in store for the future of the Justice League.
Over all I would give this movie a 4/10. With good cinematography and character portrayal, it wasn’t enough to save the lack of plot or script.