“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” hasn’t even finished its opening weekend yet and the film has already proven to be divisive among fans and critics alike. Some people love the movie, some people hate it and some people are right in the middle.
DC has a lot riding on this film and there’s little doubt that it’s going to pull in big numbers at the box office despite the mixed reviews. Although this movie will likely dominate at the box office, it doesn’t really hit a home run in the storytelling department. Some aspects of the movie were handled rather poorly, but there’s also a lot of positives to take away from the film as well.
Today we’re going to balance the positives by looking at 4 things that were good about the film and 4 things that were bad. Let’s get started.
#1 – Good – Ben Affleck’s Batman
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has some issues, but Ben Affleck’s Batman isn’t one of them. His Batman is brutal, haunting, aggressive and he just looks straight up awesome. It’s a much more experienced Batman than any other we’ve ever seen on screen, and with his years of experience come a strong sense of confidence. You never get the feeling that Batman has any doubt about what he’s doing, even if at times what he’s doing is wrong. His confidence ends up being one of the character’s biggest strengths and it really comes into play during his showdown with Superman.
Affleck also pulls off Bruce Wayne very well, playing him with a temperament similar to Kevin Conroy’s Bruce Wayne in “Batman: The Animated Series.” You get the feeling that Bruce Wayne actually enjoys being Bruce Wayne as opposed to him just enjoying his time as Batman.
At times it feels like the story in this movie prevents Batman from being as exciting as he could have been. He’s caught up in this conflict with Superman but it’s obvious that the character will be much more interesting to explore once he gets to do his own thing. The future is definitely bright for Ben Affleck’s Batman and this movie will hopefully help to build up hype for a standalone film.
#2 – Good – Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has been getting a lot of praise and it’s well deserved. She was a breath of fresh air for the film and she’s the type of character that leaves you wanting more.
For much of the film Diana Prince sort of lurks on the fringe of the major conflict between Batman and Superman. She remains a mystery and she doesn’t say much. It isn’t until the third act that we really get a taste of what she can do in battle and she totally rocks it.
After sitting through 1 hour and 45 minutes of people debating the tragedies of being a hero, it’s refreshing to see Wonder Woman leap into battle with a smile on her face. Batman and Superman spend most their time brooding over their superhero status, but Wonder Woman seems genuinely thrilled to fighting during the battle with Doomsday and it’s a nice change of pace.
#3 – Good – The Third Act
The film has a long buildup but when you finally get to see The Trinity unite it is definitely worth it. Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman look awesome together and they truly feel like a team.
Each one brings their own style to the table and they compliment each other well. At no point during their battle with Doomsday do you ever feel like one of the members is any less vital than the other. Everybody plays a key part in the final battle and seeing them all team up only helps to create some major excitement for “Justice League.”
Although “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” probably wasn’t the right movie to set things up, DC’s cinematic universe is far from doomed. The third act of this film gives fans a lot to look forward to in the future.
#4 – Good – The Visual Style
When it comes to looks “Batman v Superman” delivers big time. A lot of the sets are very dark and a lot of the scenes are set at night, but it really doesn’t detract from the experience because everything looks so damn good. From top to bottom just about everything looked phenomenal in this movie.
All of the characters look like they walked right off the pages of a comic book and into the real world. The action scenes deliver, the sets are unique and seriously, the Batmobile is awesome. The visual style of this movie, especially during the battle scenes was very well done.
The first big sequence of the film which features the Battle of Metropolis from Bruce Wayne’s point of view is terrifying in the best way. The World Engine looms in the background as an entire city falls apart around Bruce Wayne. You can truly feel the devastation that was caused by Superman’s battle with Zod as many of Bruce Wayne’s employees are killed in the destruction. The scene was chilling, haunting and a great way to open the film.
The movie isn’t afraid to go over the top which is a good thing. Out of all the things you’re likely to hear people criticize “Batman v Superman” for, the visual style probably won’t be one of them.
#1 – Bad – The Tone
Dark and gritty can work just fine for comic book movies, but “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” takes it way too far. From the very beginning the melancholy tone is set as Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne recites a depressing monologue about how the fallen are falling, or something. From there we see his parents die (again) and then death followed by more death.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with dark and gritty but this film just does not give itself or the audience a chance to breathe. It’s hard to feel the weight of the major conflict because there are no moments of levity to break up the darkness. The movie unfortunately has no dynamics at all. Everyone is brooding all the time during almost every single moment of this movie.
The film is dark and it doesn’t want you forget it, not even for a second. The irony is that all of the darkness makes the darker parts harder to take seriously. The movie takes itself so damn seriously, that at times it almost becomes a parody.
Even Christopher Nolan understood that the audience needs a break from the darkness every now and then. A quick laugh here or there makes it easier to be pulled back into a serious situation. “The Dark Knight” trilogy was dark in its own right, but it still had its lighter moments so that the audience could take a breath. “Batman v Superman” just punches you in the face with a fist full of darkness over and over and over again and it’s a little too much.
#2 – Bad – The Pacing
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” opens with a montage, followed by an incredible opening sequence set in Metropolis, and then it hits a brick wall really hard. The film’s pace slows down big time and much of the setup is carried out through scattered scenes that don’t flow naturally into one another.
The third act of the film is loaded with action, but a little more in the front end would have gone a long way. The movie simply makes you wait far too long before anything interesting happens. The attraction here is seeing two of the biggest superheroes ever on the big screen together. But instead of actually doing cool superhero stuff, they spend most of the movie just talking about whether or not they even want to be superheroes. The final battle delivers, but the grim philosophical debate that fills up the first two thirds of the movie kills a lot of the momentum and excitement along the way.
#3 – Bad – Henry Cavill’s Superman
It’s really unfortunate that Henry Cavill’s Superman had to be so damn depressing in this film. It makes sense for him to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders following the events of “Man of Steel,” but his sadness was a little extreme
You really don’t get the sense that Superman enjoys being Superman at any point in the film which leaves you to wonder why he even puts on the suit in the first place. There’s a scene in the movie where he saves a child from a burning building and then he returns the kid to their family. The family is overcome with joy as they all praise Superman and it’s a happy moment. Superman stops and he almost smiles, almost.
Somehow Henry Cavill’s Superman manages to be an even darker character than Ben Affleck’s Batman. It’s understandable that he would be so grim because he’s in a terrible position, but it’s hard to make a connection with him because he’s just so f**king depressing.
Henry Cavill puts in a great performance with what he’s been given. But the problem is that what he’s given in this movie just isn’t that great. Superman is a character that is supposed to project hope in some form or another but instead this movie projects the most hopeless Superman ever to appear on the big screen.
#4 – Bad – Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor
Sorry guys, but Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was whack! Going into the film this spin on Lex seemed interesting enough, but more often than not the character just becomes really frustrating. He talks fast, rarely makes sense and sometimes he doesn’t even finish his sentences. He’s like a mix between The Joker and Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka.
Lex has many schemes throughout the movie and the ones that he pulls off are quite evil, but you never really get the vibe that he himself is evil. His motivations for wanting to cause the world pain are really weak and unclear. Most of the time he doesn’t even seem all that invested in his evil plans. It seems that he’s just doing these things simply because he can. He’s like a really rich little kid playing in the sand, but Metropolis is his sandbox and Batman and Superman are his toys.
This Lex Luthor is supposed to be an evil mastermind, but his plan comes off as more chaotic than calculated. The moves he makes are sloppy and it seems like most of his grand plan to pit Superman and Batman against one another comes together through luck.
Eisenberg spends most of his time acting like he’s intentionally trying to piss the audience off by being quirky. The problem is that the quirkiness isn’t entertaining and it just takes away from the experience. Jesse’s Lex Luthor is an extreme take and people are likely either going to love him or hate him. Lex Luthor is sure to be a key player in the DC film universe going forward, which means Jesse Eisenberg will probably be a divisive figure among audiences for years to come.