Okay, folks. I know Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been out for some time now, but I only just got around to writing down my opinion about it now. Sorry about that.
Here’s your spoiler alert! I’m not holding back on those; mostly because I think everyone who wanted to see has. And I’m too tired to think about a spoiler-free review. So you have been warned!
I have very rarely seen a movie get so many mixed reviews. The critics hate it, but that doesn’t say much. Many fans aren’t convinced either, and that’s usually a bad sign – but that did not keep me from wanting to see the movie for myself. And I’m glad I did, because some of the reviews I’ve seen and read differ from what I have to say about it.
Let me start by saying that although I wasn’t a huge fan of the decision to cast Ben Affleck as Batman, I was always sure that he’d do just fine. And he did. He did better than fine. Ben Affleck was one of the best things about this movie. His acting was on point, and although his Batman is very different from Christian Bale’s, he was still a great choice for the role. He delivers an angry and driven Bruce Wayne, and a badass Batman. Seriously. That scene that was in one of the trailers, where he gets into the warehouse and fights a couple dozen enemies – it’s awesome! Better than it looked in the trailer.
The other thing I’m going to say straight away is that I liked Man of Steel. I think Henry Cavill is both a great Superman and a great Clark Kent/Kal-El. But the role he got in this movie… it’s not very convincing. I don’t know whether Zack Snyder just wanted to get a completely different approach than what he did in Man of Steel, or if he just needed Superman to kinda fit the role that Bruce Wayne wanted for him – but he just does not feel right. Bruce Wayne says that Superman’s a threat because he’s a god. In Man of Steel, Superman/Clark Kent was flawed, and human. But in Batman v Superman, he really is like a god. The way his scenes are filmed, they make him appear like a god who does not really care about the people, but kinda has to do the job, because there’s no one else to do it.
That bothered me very much, because I don’t think Superman’s like that. Yes, he has the powers of a god – but he does not feel like a god, and he does not act like a god. He shouldn’t just be staying afloat in the air, looking down at the people reaching out their hands to him for help – he should be helping. But he’s always just there, his cape floating in the wind, immobile, looking down. I’d be a little afraid of that kind of Superman too, if I’m honest.
We see very little of Clark Kent in this movie. The human side of Superman is just not portrayed very much or well. That being said, Henry Cavill did the best he could with the role he was given, in my opinion. It’s not his fault that the writers and directors and whoever else was involved in making his role wrote him the way they did.
The other gripe I have with this movie is that it’s called Batman v Superman – but the actual fight between Batman and Superman lasts about 5 minutes. It’s a cool fight, but they could just have called the movie Dawn of Justice and be done with it. It would have been the same. Especially because Superman doesn’t actually want to fight Batman. Lex Luthor kidnaps his mother and forces him to do it. So the whole fight scene – though a great scene! – is almost anti-climatic.
The end of the fight is misleading. The way I see it, the fact that both Clark’s and Bruce’ mother are called Martha is not the reason why they stop fighting. They do not”suddenly become best friends” because their moms share a name. But the fact that Superman’s dying thought is of his mother – that’s the important part of this. Because Bruce has only ever seen him as a god, a monster, but now he’s human, all of a sudden. Of course the name is what stopped him, but the fact that Clark is begging for his mother’s life instead of his own is ultimately what makes Bruce realize that he was wrong, and that he’s making a mistake. That there is a human behind the god that is Superman; one with a mother, whom he loves. Gods don’t have mothers, and they do not love. Not like that, anyway.
End of interpretation. Because I don’t know whether or not that was Zack Snyder’s idea behind that scene or not. It’s just the way I thought about it.
Wonder Woman, although a kick-ass character, is kind of shoe-horned into this. The movie would have been almost the same without her – although I’d like to think that the fight with the Doomsday creature would have ended a lot worse if she hadn’t been there. There’s an entire side-plot about her and a flash-drive (I think? I’m not sure anymore…) that Lex Luthor stole, that contains information about her. Through that, they introduce a couple of other characters for the Justice League (the Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg) – which, don’t get me wrong, is awesome, but does nothing to change the direction this movie is going. It just feels like it’s too much for one movie; a movie that’s supposed to be about Batman and Superman fighting, no less. Like I said, had they just called it Dawn of Justice, it would have been better.
Then there’s Lex Luthor. He’s a cool villain. But in my opinion, he was miscast. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor feels a lot more like the Joker than Lex Luthor – and I don’t particularly know much about Lex Luthor. But he felt… wrong, somehow. Like there were two people arguing about how to make his character, and, when they couldn’t decide on one, they just compromised and did both. The genius billionaire and the crazy nutjob that goes and creates Doomsday, basically for fun.
That Doomsday thing was done badly, too. The CGI was bad. Its powers are ridiculous – not because it overpowers Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman as easily as it does – but because it just keeps upgrading to weirder and weirder powers. And there are bones (I think it’s bones?) growing out of its skin. And I was just not impressed by this thing. They could have done better than that.
The end of the movie was both too long and came too abruptly, which is fascinating, because I did not think such a thing could be possible. But it is. The fight is over – I was not expecting Superman to die, though; I have to admit that took me by surprise – and then there’s still 10-20 minutes of movie left. They shouldn’t have dragged it out for that long. And they could have just ended it with Superman being dead for all we know – but they go and show the dirt on the coffin lifting. So he’s not really dead, and we got 10 minutes of funeral for nothing.
All in all, I’d say I was rather disappointed in this movie; but it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be. Yes, the pacing is off, Superman is weird, the CGI is bad, and there’s too many things in this movie. But it’s still enjoyable. Everyone does a great job with their characters. Batman is well-written. Wonder Woman is badass and made me exccited for her stand alone movie next year (although I hope to god or whatever that it’s better than this movie). Alfred is cool as well, with a couple of good one-liners.
Rating: Acceptable. It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse. And many people don’t give credit where credit is due. There are good things in this movie, and I wouldn’t mind watching it a second time. But yes, it is disappointing, because we’ve all seen better superhero movies. That’s the truth of it.
What about you guys? Have you seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? What were your thoughts?