Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 30% (Critics) / 77% (Audience)
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Synopsis: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis. – (Source)


The Good:
I really liked that the script for this movie actually tried to be about something and it succeeded a much higher degree than I anticipated it would. By making the world these classic heroes inhabit be so close to the real world all of the distrust and wariness that is felt about these heroes made a lot of sense.
The movie also looked amazing and the action scenes were incredible. This is about as close to a comic book come to life as we have gotten from any of these comic book movies since director Zack Snyder’s criminally underrated WATCHMEN.
The performance were great too and defied the low expectations that were set when casting was announced. Gal Gadot was a graceful and fierce Wonder Woman who brightened up every scene she was in and has me totally confident in her starring role in the character’s solo movie. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams actually had romantic chemistry in this movie which was a big problem with the two of them from MAN OF STEEL. And Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t my own personal idea of what Lex Luthor should be but his “Eisenberginess” really played well with the vision of this new millennium Luthor.
Best of all and the biggest surprise was Ben Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne. Affleck pulled off all of the layers of the Bruce Wayne persona with an aplomb that places him in good standing with the Keatons and Bales but where he really excelled was as Batman. Despite their best efforts most of the previous actors who donned the pointy ears were always great as Wayne but not all that memorable once under the cape and cowl. Affleck on the other hand was pretty much the perfect cinematic embodiment of Batman.
And I have to give Snyder credit for slipping in the oft-told tale of the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents in the opening credits and for how he was able to make the appearances of the future Justice League members not feel obtrusive at all.
And the score for this movie is a thing of insane beauty! The Wonder Woman theme alone is enough to spur me to download it.

The Bad:
My biggest gripe with this movie had to do with the fact that Superman is all mopey and questioning of himself and his place in the world for way too long. All of the unsure self-doubt should have been left in MAN OF STEEL and Superman should have been a lot more self-assured even when the world was coming at his neck. Hopefully moving forward they’ll let up on the “woe is me” aspects of Superman and move the character more towards being the guy that all the other tights and capes folks look up to. At the very least it will help Henry Cavill not have to look like his dog just died for 65% of a movie.
Also as much as I enjoyed the vision Batman had of a totalitarian future ruled by Superman (complete with Omega symbol emblazoned on the Earth and Parademons flying around all willy nilly) and the appearance of The Flash, I do think a little more foreshadowing of the inevitable coming of Darkseid would have helped to give those scenes more of an impact. Because if you are not a comic book nerd you likely were confused as hell by those scenes.
I also wasn’t all that enthused by Doomsday’s appearance but at least it gets the character out of the way and hopefully we never have to see him on a movie screen ever again.

The Ugly:
Not a fan of the final fate of Superman…I know it follows along with the ending of the “Doomsday” comic book storyline but felt kinda clunky as the ending for this film. And the editing on this movie was really, really really odd.

Final Verdict: An ambitious film that not only tries to say something about how super-heroes would fit in our modern world while also slipping in all of the action one wants/expects from a movie about two iconic characters beating one another up. I give it credit for reaching for the gold and even though it doesn’t quite stick the landing as perfectly as everyone involved surely hoped, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is ultimately an enjoyable film that provides some of the best translation of comic book pages to the screen and has set up the coming of the Justice League very nicely. I am sure that there is a cut of this film that is a lot better than the movie sent to theaters though.

Grade: B

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