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Batman v Superman: A Movie Review


Queen Bee

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I've never done a movie review before, but I've always wanted to try and this movie certainly begs criticism. I've avoided reading any other reviews to ensure mine is unbiased, but even I've heard through the grapevine the spectrum of reactions runs from 'mediocre but entertaining' to 'the worst abomination imaginable'.

 

So here it is, my review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warning, there will be spoilers.

 

 

 

 

I'll go ahead and do the tl;dr version first: It's exactly as bad as you may have heard, made all the more so for all the untapped and unrefined potential this movie had. They do too much in too short a time, touching on themes without adequately exploring them, trying and failing to do the kind of world building Marvel has been knocking out of the park since Iron Man. It is mildly entertaining, but only just, and it manages to get itself above the mediocre line by including some really clever machinations on the part of the villain, and some genuinely fist pumping moments of heroism that still put a smile on my face. I give it a 6/10.

 

Now here's the long version.

 

Dear god, this movie is packed. The two and a half hour run time flies by, not because it's exciting or engrossing, but because most scenes last what feels like two minutes a piece before they move on to something else. There's so many plot threads I lost count, and most of them tease important elements without really amounting to anything. This creates the illusion of urgency, even in scenes that don't require it. Seriously, someone needs to sit down with these people and explain the concept of pacing.

 

This break neck speed might not have been a bad thing if they'd done it right. But pesky things like character and relationship development often get muscled aside so we can get Batman's Important Foreshadowing Dream Sequences of Doom. Maybe if they'd spent less time trying to give us commercials for what will undoubtedly be Justice League vs. Darkseid, we might have gotten a movie that made people give a damn. Instead, they tease us with brilliant concepts that would have worked so much better had they come up in stand alone movies with more time to explore them. Batman's slide into cruelty, Superman's struggle for identity in a world that doesn't want him, and Wonder Woman's...well, anything, really. We should have gotten separate Batman and Wonder Woman movies to pair with Man of Steel, explaining and exploring these character themes so we wouldn't have to spend most of BvS wondering.

 

One of the places this movie succeeds is in Batman, and this is one of the reasons I actually look forward to the upcoming trilogy. Affleck absolutely kills it in this, giving us a convincingly weary Bats who, after 20 years of fighting crime, has been pushed perhaps a little too far. He brands his enemies with his insignia, uses guns, casually blows up bad guys without a second glance, and fights his way through a warehouse of goons with a brutality that brings to mind Nick Cage's role of Big Daddy from Kick-Ass. Sadly, this development goes nowhere beyond a stern talking to from Alfred and disapproving glares from Superman. The subject of Batman's cruelty is brought up and immediately dismissed, never again to be discussed or brought to any satisfying resolution at all.

 

And then you have Wonder Woman, who could be cut entirely from the picture without changing a goddamn thing. Sure, she leaps in to save Batman from Doomsday in what is one of those fist pumping hero moments I mentioned above, but Superman could have done that. They clearly have no idea what to do with her, and her part feels tacked on and pointless. She shows up to steal data that Bruce Wayne is trying to steal from Lex, all on the pretext of getting a picture of herself from 1918. Why does she want this photo? Making a copy of it from Lex's computers doesn't mean he doesn't still have it, so if it's a question of avoiding blackmail she's shit outta luck. Does she want it so she can gaze nostalgically at it while remembering the good ol' days? They could have given her any number of reasons to be included, and almost any of them would have been better than "I want to see myself in sepia tone".

 

She could have been useful, dare I say even pivotal, in uncovering Lex's manipulations. Imagine that while Supes and Bats are getting their strings pulled, WW is out there doing detective work, following clues and leads Batman is too blinded by his rage-on for Superman to see. That way when the two are duking it out, she can be the one to leap between them and say, "Lex is behind all of this, and I have proof!", thus cementing herself as not only competent, but actually necessary to the plot.

 

But no. Instead we get a superhero smackdown interrupted at the climax because, I kid you not, Superman and Batman both have mothers named Martha.

 

Really? This is what we get? This is what stays Batman's hand? Not clear evidence of a larger threat, not the realization he's been played for a fool, but a coincidence that only reveals how unimaginative Golden Age comic writers were when it came to naming their characters? This? Really? Really?

 

*sigh*

 

Well, at least Lex's manipulations were awesome. I mean, he did all this great work subtly nudging people into position, dealing with senators, buying mercenaries, bribing officials, toying with Bruce Wayne's emotions, setting up Superman, all carefully laying up the dominoes to fall at his command. And then he goes and ruins it all by revealing himself to Superman for no goddamn reason. "Oh hey, I've got your mother, and you'll kill Batman for me or she'll die."

 

To which I ask a very important question: Fucking WHY?

 

If Lex has gotten this far without letting on that he's controlling everything, why would he jeopardize that by telling anyone, let alone Superman, what he's up to? He easily could have continued doing everything from the shadows, pushing them that final inch into the titular slugfest, without resorting to the tired old gambit of 'do something awful or your loved one bites it'. I realize this is the original Lex Luthor's son, but he comes across as unhinged and unstable, a man hellbent on destroying Superman (if not his body, then his reputation), and for what? He alludes to an abusive father and something about gods and power, but no real solid motivation is clear.

 

And it becomes even muddier when Doomsday bursts out of his shell and begins its rampage on Metropolis. What exactly was Lex's plan here? If Doomsday kills Superman, what then? Clearly it wasn't to use Doomsday to take over the world, since the first thing it does after tearing its way out of the incubation chamber is try to murder-punch Lex into a fine paste. Hell, the kid just stands there, eyes closed, waiting for it to happen. Maybe he assumed Superman would save him, maybe he wanted to die, but either way his actions were that of someone who cares nothing about what comes next. I half expected him to turn out to be some weird clone of the original Lex mixed with Joker DNA, because he clearly just wants to watch the world burn.

 

All of this - the sloppy story telling, the too many plot threads, the useless characters - might have been halfway excusable if they'd at least made the fight scenes worthwhile, but no. There are three major fight scenes (Batman vs Superman, Batman vs warehouse goons, and the three heroes vs Doomsday), and while there are successes in all of them, they remain a mess of choppy editing and incomprehensible CGI that makes me think of the worst parts of Michael Bay's Transformers.

 

And then there's the big one: Superman kills Doomsday, and in so doing dies himself. He makes the great sacrifice, laying down his life so that others may live. This is clearly meant to be the defining moment, not just for Superman, but for Batman and Wonder Woman as well. They share this meaningful look as they stand over Supes' corpse, as though Batman wasn't trying to kill him twenty minutes earlier and WW didn't just meet him for the first time that day.

 

Why should they care? And for that matter, why should we care? They had ample opportunities to give us reasons, but they squandered them. Superman could have gotten up in front of that committee with a passionate speech about what he stands for, imploring people to give him the chance to earn their trust and respect while giving them hope for the future. Y'know, the very things Superman is known for. Instead, he doesn't even get a chance to open his mouth before the entire building is blown to hell.

 

Which, let's be honest here, it's just as well. Henry Cavill's acting is really subpar in this. He reacts to the flaming deaths of dozens of people around him like someone just spoiled the ending to The Force Awakens, and delivers an ultimatum to Batman like he's reading someone's mean Tweets. I respect Cavill as an actor and I know he's better than this, and it sucks that the script and direction shackle him so badly. This could have been a great moment for Superman, proving to the world he is the hero he wants to be. Instead we get broody Woodman, capable of shooting disapproving looks faster than a speeding bullet and leaping over meaningful character development in a single scene.

 

And of course there's the cameos. The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, all shoehorned in via surveillance video, because world building! And let's not forget Flash's timey wimey head through a portal gag, a scene that was so unintentionally hilarious many people in the audience with me burst into involuntary giggles.

 

And let's not forget the dirt rising off Superman's coffin. Because, duh, of course he's not dead! He's Superman.

 

*double sigh*

 

There's so much about this movie that works, but for all the wrong reasons and with not enough to support it all. Which is a shame, because the bits that are good are really good, in a way that almost makes me think they really know what they're doing. But those chunks of goodness are swimming in bile, and it often feels not worth wading through to get to them. I think Gal Gadot fucking rocks as Wonder Woman, but she's given practically nothing to do. Affleck is Batman, in a way that is both compelling and exciting, but he's entirely too obsessed with Superman and we never get to see him at his best. Still, I look forward to their stand alone movies, where I'm sure they'll shine, even if they're the only things about them that does.

 

It's just a shame we didn't get those first.

 

 

 

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6 / 10? No way. When I see "Man of Steel" and it is reduced to by this "sequel"... I'm about to cry out loud. It was hard enough to accept a Batman on a killing spree, but that's supposed to be realistic, since "he is angry" now. Whatever.

 

What I really don't understand (most likely because of cultural differences) is why that cripple got 40 years of prison for vandalism. That's the only thing in the movie I actually don't unterstand.

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6 / 10? No way. When I see "Man of Steel" and it is reduced to by this "sequel"... I'm about to cry out loud. It was hard enough to accept a Batman on a killing spree, but that's supposed to be realistic, since "he is angry" now. Whatever.

 

What I really don't understand (most likely because of cultural differences) is why that cripple got 40 years of prison for vandalism. That's the only thing in the movie I actually don't unterstand.

They mention him making terrorist threats, which I didn't hear him make and don't really understand. But he wasn't given 40 years, it's just the max sentence he could get for it.

 

But I agree, Batman killing thugs was wrong, though I support the film makers decision to go this direction. I guess you could say he's lived long enough to see himself become the villain.

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I already heard bad reviews from my friends who watched this movie but I'm still plan to watch it.

I'm crazy for SFs and like special effects.

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Yeah this movie wasnt really that good. Had a few good points but it got boring at some parts

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Meh, i still gave it a 7.5/10 the only thing that bothered me was the fight between Batman and Superman was too tame. "If Lex has gotten this far without letting on that he's controlling everything, why would he jeopardize that by telling anyone, let alone Superman, what he's up to?" Of the versions i've seen of Lex, he doesn't seem to care if superman knows his plan and at that point people are still skeptical of superman so it might look like he's pinning the blame on someone else. I do agree on the doomsday plan, i'm not sure what he planned to do from there, although before doomsday was released i swear i heard him talk for a moment meaning doomsday might have had some level of intellegence. A main character hero dying in any series or movie especially if its not over is always laughable. Its like watching DBZ playing Mortal Kombat, you feel nothing because you know, through some bullshit method, they will be back. So there is zero reason to feel anything. It would have been good to get a movie before that i agree. By the way on the superman dying then coming back to life thing, why do that, how would people react to that too. Couldn't we have just gotten some scene showing someone knows his superman is connected to the sun and brings him back through that instead of this rather pointless death.

 

"they remain a mess of choppy editing and incomprehensible CGI that makes me think of the worst parts of Michael Bay's Transformers" To this day i think i'm the only one who can see what's going on in any CGI fight thanks to those movies, regardless of how fast it is. He may suck at getting the plots and stories right, but the designs i still love.

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