After the devastation of Metropolis, most of the world sees Superman (Henry Cavill) as a savior. Unsure of Superman’s intentions, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), aka Batman, looks for a way to defeat the seemingly invincible hero. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) concocts a plan of his own to bring down the man of steel.
The two main characters of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are very polarizing for me. On one hand, Batman is one one of my favorite DC heroes and I grew up with Batman: The Animated Series. On the other hand, Superman is one of my least favorite superheroes and I wasn’t a huge fan of Man of Steel. However, being the superhero fan I am, I wasn’t going to let this one pass by, especially with it being the major kickoff to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).
When Ben Affleck was first announced as playing Bruce Wayne, there was a lot of backlash. I wanted to wait and see for myself before making any judgments. I thought he did a good job as an older, jaded Bruce Wayne. He really had that grizzled characteristic to him that I would expect from someone who has been fighting crime for twenty years. Jeremy Irons also made for a great Alfred. I want to see more of him in the future because I think with some more screen time, he might rival Michael Cain’s Alfred.
Despite this move being titled Batman v Superman, Gal Gadot stole every scene she was in. She also received a lot of criticism when she was cast as Wonder Woman. Gadot could not have been more perfect. She had the poise, she had the attitude, and she had Wonder Woman’s character down. I’m more excited now for Wonder Woman because I want to see more of what Gadot can do with the role.
As the title suggests, this movie is about both Batman and Superman. The movie does a fine job of balancing these two characters. Although, Batman does seem to get a little more time. This makes sense since this is his first appearance in the DCEU, whereas Superman already received much of his development in Man of Steel. The best scene of the film was when these two finally meet for their showdown. It was big and dramatic and was one long, great fight sequence. Say what you will about Zack Snyder, he knows how to film action.
Now as for the rest of the film, it didn’t fare as well. Much of that comes from the pacing of the first two acts. It would do some set up, whether it was for one of the main characters or the overall conflict. Then rev up briefly. Then slow back down to more exposition. This starting and stopping made for a jarring experience. It didn’t help that the movie was trying to cram a good deal into itself.
There were many subplots throughout the movie. The way they interacted is where many of the pacing issues occurred. It felt like the movie was trying to pack in all these different story lines but didn’t know what to do with all of them. They didn’t flow that well together and would’ve worked better in other movies. Like many of DC’s movies, this one tried to incorporate too much and ended up losing its focus on what it was really trying to accomplish.
Batman v Superman is also supposed to be the first step towards the giant Justice League crossover, so it introduced many future characters and plot elements. It reminded me a lot of Avengers: Age of Ultron actually. In both movies, this prevents them from being self-contained stories, which hurts them. However, in Age of Ultron‘s case, Marvel at least seemed to have planned for it and know what is happening in the movies it was trying to set up. DC just seemed to throw them in there to say “look what’s coming,” without giving many of these introductions much purpose towards the overall story.
If there was one thing that was truly wrong with this movie it was Lex Luthor. For starters, his personality was all wrong. Luthor is calculating, cold, and in control of himself. This Luthor was the opposite of that. He was a genius like his comic book counterpart but that feels like where the similarities end. I’m a fan of Jesse Eisenberg, but he was not a good choice for Luthor. His Luthor was on the edge of insanity. It felt like more of a Joker than a Lex Luthor. That’s not who the character should be.
I thought Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was OK :-|. There are several good qualities in the film, such as casting Affleck, Irons, and Gadot but the weak villain and poor pacing overshadow much of what the film actually does well.
Cast & Crew
Zack Snyder – Director
Chris Terrio – Writer
David S. Goyer – Writer
Hans Zimmer – Composer
Junkie XL – Composer
Ben Affleck – Bruce Wayne / Batman
Henry Cavill – Clark Kent / Superman
Gal Gadot – Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
Amy Adams – Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg – Lex Luthor
Jeremy Irons – Alfred
Diane Lane – Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne – Perry White
Holly Hunter – Senator Finch
Scoot McNairy – Wallace Keefe
Callan Mulvey – Anatoli Knyazev
Tao Okamoto – Mercy Graves
Brandon Spink – Young Bruce Wayne
A very good review. You’re spot on here. Wonder Woman stole the whole movie for me. I think she may be the crowning success of the quite stale DC Cinematic Universe.
Thanks. She has had the smallest amount of screen time of the three heroes introduced so far and she is somehow still the most interesting.
I know, very worrying!
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Well done review, I took a stab a reviewing this movie and I am envious of how well yours came out compared to mine.
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Thanks. We all have different writing styles. As long as you feel you got your thoughts across, that’s all that matters. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!
I am curious what your thoughts of Affleck as Batman are?
I liked Ben Affleck as Batman. Affleck isn’t my favorite Batman (that honor belongs to Christian Bale) but he does the older Bruce very well. He and Jeremy Irons did especially well together as the classic Bruce and Alfred combo.
Batman is such a great character, and the actors who have played him have all been truly excellent actors (well maybe not Adam West). The great things is that each has brought his own variation on Batman, which is appropriate since our conception of Batman has changed so many times. I think that Ben Affleck has earned his spot and look forward to him in the next Justice League movie.
Great review! I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. I really, really enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg but I can’t argue with your point of how Lex was portrayed. I think he was much more like the Riddler! 🙂
Thanks! Like I said, I’m a fan of Eisenberg but he was simply miscast for the part. The Riddler is another great comparison!
Great review! My thoughts are much the same. Loved Ben Affleck as Batman, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. These three were the highlight of the movie for me. I agree that the structure of the movie had problems, though; it kind of feels like the editing porting of the film making was rushed, and I think the scenes could have been blended together more smoothly and coherently. I also wasn’t a fan of the portrayal of Lex Luthor in this film.
Thanks! I’m glad we are on the same page. Better editing definitely would have helped but that wouldn’t have solved all of the problems. With the amount of sub-plots this movie contained and future stories they were trying to set up here, it still would have been convoluted and no amount of editing can (usually) fix that.
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I agree about how the poor pacing overshadows much of what the film actually does well. I like that you captured in your review both the positives and negatives. One of my biggest positives is that I’m excited for a Wonder Woman solo movie, I was a bit skeptical before watching BvS. On the negative aspects, I agree with Ashley’s comments about the structure, editing and show the screenplay needed to be streamlined. Great review!
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This film is getting bashed enough, I don’t need to pile it on, too. 😛 There is good in this film but unfortunately there is more bad in it. I was the same way! Before watching this I was kind of ‘meh’ towards the Wonder Woman movie but now I’m excited for it. If this movie would have focused on its three main heroes on not worried about setting up future movies so much, that would have trimmed it a bit and allowed it to focus on the real reason everyone wanted to see it: the conflict between Batman and Superman.
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Trimming it is the key for me, if I was an editor I would love to “fix” BvS. The script needed another re-write too, some might call it ambitious, but there was way too much excess fat here haha. 😀
Being an editor on this would have been a nightmare. 😛 The script most definitely was ambitious, which is where many of the problems came it. Like you said, there is too much excess fat. I found in movies more isn’t necessarily better.
I agree with you Drew – it was OK. Lex Luthor wasn’t what he is supposed to be at all 😦
And that was so disappointing. 😦 As arguably Superman’s biggest nemesis, Lex should have been handled better.