Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 superhero film starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jeremy Irons. It was directed by Zack Snyder. As one can probably surmise, the film concerns DC’s two major players going head to head in what promises to be an epic battle. Due to both the hype and the seemingly overwhelming negativity surrounding this movie, I am going to do a before and after type review. As of 9:26 AM today, I have yet to see the film. Preconceived notions generated from all I’ve heard on the internet are completely unavoidable, so let me explain what they are.
Let me be clear I am not a fan of Zack Snyder.at all. For the uninitiated, he was the director of 300, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, and is, as of now, still slated to direct Justice League for 2017. His movies are all style, explosions, and no substance. He is the one to blame for the meaningless wanton destruction and death in Man of Steel. He, in fact, went to the same film school as Micheal Bay, who I also despise with a passion. Though I didn’t despise Man of Steel (Thought it was decent enough), both the names of Snyder and hack comic book screenwriter David S. Goyer immediately bummed me out. Some defend Goyer, stating he worked on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. He did, but he was under supervision of the excellent Nolan Brothers. This time, he co-wrote the script with newbie screenwriter Chris Terrio, so I was, again, apprehensive. In fact, the thing that finally sold me on this movie showed up in the final released trailer that I have linked above. One of my major problems with the Nolan films was the fighting. It was lame and uninspired. I know he was trying to be grounded, but grounded doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with your fight choreography, just ask the people behind the Bourne films. The Batman doesn’t fight like this.
It is now 4:10 PM. I have seen the movie, eaten lunch, and digested the film. I didn’t love it, nor did I hate it. I actually really enjoyed it, until I actually started to think about it. The script was a mess, like I expected. There is absolutely no focus to this film and it just goes all over the place. There are pointless plot threads, threads that don’t really get resolved, stuff that doesn’t make any sense, and stuff that sets up the JLA that they could’ve either expanded on or left out entirely.
The film starts out with a scene of Bruce’s parents getting shot. After 70+ years, on behalf of everyone, we freaking get it, OK? It’s five minutes of slow mo psuedo-symbolism that I neither needed nor wanted. But that does bring me to my first problem. Batman straight up murders people. There’s missiles and machine guns on the Batmobile and the Batwing that are used without any hesitation or explanation. Let’s forget the moral issue Batman (I thought) had with killing. Batman is a psychopath. He always has been and always will be. He is a man with a severe case of PTSD and a Martyrdom Complex who dresses up in a costume and beats the crap out of people. Batman is a crazy person who has two fears. One of those is bats, which he uses to his advantage. The other is guns. Batman is afraid of guns. A gun is what lead to the death of his parents. If it wasn’t for guns, in his mind, they would still be alive. Batman is not a shooter and he is not a killer. It’s against every established version of the character thus far. It would be fine if we were given some sort of explanation, but we never are. “Because” is the best thing we’re ever going to get, I’m afraid.
Aside from the nonsense that is Batman brutally murdering people now, I am digging Ben Affleck as Batman. Batffleck perfectly embodies everything about Batman, especially then anger and the idea that he sees himself as the only one willing to do what’s right. He is, in all honesty, the most emotionally and physically perfect depiction of the Caped Crusader from the comics. Every Batman related aspect aside from cold blooded murder was actually pretty great. Jeremy Irons was great as Alfred and I wish there was more of him. The fights were awesome, especially the one pictured above. On a purely technical level, the film is great. The fights were fun, I loved the cinematography and the lighting, the acting was great, with the exception of one. Now, let’s get on to the stuff I didn’t like.
Jesse Eisenberg is a truly awful Lex Luthor. Luthor, the chrome dome genius with an obsession with Superman, who ends up becoming the President of the United States, is instead portrayed as a schizophrenic loon who has a problem with religion. Luthor does not perceive Superman as a threat, nor a means to power or domination, he views Superman as God, who he blames for childhood abuse at the hands of his father (I think, it is entirely unclear). Lex spends billions of dollars, kills people, and kidnaps people, for ultimately nothing. He wants to kill God, which gains him nothing. It makes zero sense. If he were Joker, it wouldn’t have to. But he’s not, and it doesn’t. Lex Luthor is a rational human being, or at least he should be. Here, he’s a completely unintimidating, demasculinized, idiot spouting nonsense that he perceives as smart. None of his dialogue, motivations, or actions make sense and it hurts me to think about it. I am going to watch the Ultimate Edition when it comes out, and I might do a review, so I’ll get some examples from dialogue itself, but for now, just take my word. Jesse Eisenberg does not play Lex Luthor. Jesse Eisenberg plays a homeless man I would expect to find on Green Street at 6 AM, it sucks.
I would recommend you go see this movie, because I did like it… before using my brain. There were awesome fights, Battfleck is awesome, the acting’s great. Just ignore the fact that nothing makes sense and I think Goyer and Terrio were high on shrooms, not good shrooms, either. Awful shrooms. It is a good movie to go see, I mean, it is Batman fighting Superman, but I honestly see where the hate is coming from. I have several unanswered questions that I want answered, and I’m hoping the director’s cut may clear at least some of them up. If anyone can answer them, I’d be impressed
Where did Wonder Woman come from? Why is she in Gotham? Why did she steal Bruce’s hard drive? Why was Lex Luthor interested in Flash, Wonder Woman, Cyclops, and Aquaman? Wasn’t he just focused on Superman? Why is Superman’s death a catalyst for creating the Justice League? If Superman didn’t die, would Bruce still create the Justice League? Would they still hate each other? How and why did Lois almost drown? Why doesn’t Perry think people care about Batman? People would certainly care more about a masked vigilante than football. Why does Batman brand people now? Why does he toy with Superman before killing him? He’s a psychopath, not a sadist. Why does “Martha!” make Batman pause? If anything, it should piss him off more. Why not “My mother!” or “Mom!” How exactly did Lex figure out both Batman and Superman’s identities? Why does the Chair Bomber despise Bruce?
I could probably come up with more, but this is enough for now.
This movie is essentially a Cinnabon for your brain. It’s awesome until twenty minutes after the fact when you realize you might possibly die, and are very well going to crap yourself. I’m not going to say don’t go see it, because there are some entertaining, worthwhile aspects to the film. Just… Don’t think. Just don’t.