Batman V Superman Dawn Of Justice
The Nerfed Llamas Review
At first, I wasn’t going to write this review… and then I was. Then again I thought that maybe I shouldn’t write it, but I did have some pretty intense reactions to the film, and so maybe I should write this review. I’ve been going back and forth like this for at least a day or so. Finally, I decided to be like Nike and “Just Do It!” So here it is, my official Spoiler Free Review of Batman V Superman Dawn Of Justice.Full disclosure: I did not walk into this movie expecting a whole lot. The trailers were underwhelming at best and at worst spoiled the entire movie. For an example of what I’m talking about, please see the following trailer:
What I Liked: First, I would like to congratulate Ben Affleck for doing a terrific job as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I was one of the folks that was not thrilled to hear his casting announcement, but after seeing this flick I can heartily state that he did an excellent job! The acting was by far the best aspect of the movie, as Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons and Gal Gadot all put in solid performances. Above and beyond that… well, that leads to the next section.
What I Didn’t Like: This is why I almost didn’t even type this review up in the first place. Where do I start? How do I keep this spoiler free? In the spirit of keeping this friendly and not diving too deep into the issues that I had with this film, I will try (probably unsuccessfully) to keep it short and sweet with these few points:
- The Pacing was absolutely terrible. The first hour of the film crawls along so slowly that each movie ticket should have come with a shot of espresso for you to take when necessary, so as to guarantee that you would remain alert and awake throughout the entire movie. Once the action finally starts, it gets these odd unnecessary dramatic pauses to (I guess) add suspense/connection to the characters. I don’t truthfully know why they are there. In the second half of the film the pacing is all over the place. Neither half of the movie feels fully edited, and as such the entire film feels disjointed and unfinished, which is likely why they are releasing a Director’s Cut on Blu-Ray soon.
- The Plot was a hot steaming mess. Again, I won’t spoil anything, but Batman V Superman Dawn Of Justice feels like the writers took ten separate plots, put them in a blender, shredded them all up and then tried to tape them back together in no specific order whatsoever. It is a gangly, odd, long, disjointed story that neither follows the better portions of the core comic book material nor any artistic license that would enhance and/or make the plot or characters better for film. Instead, we are treated to Zack Snider’s 12 year old boy mentality fan film that neither makes for good storytelling nor did it ever needed to be committed to screen. There had to be a better reason to bring these characters together. Hell, even the classic 90’s animated series had a special Batman/Superman movie that made more sense, covered more bases and felt more content correct at only 64 minutes long. Think about that. The animated movie told a better, more complete story in 64 minutes than Batman V Superman could in 151 minutes.
- Everything was so damned dark! Holy shit, if this movie could get any darker, I just don’t know how. Even the daylight shots were filmed through some sort of filter that made them seem darker than they rightfully should have. Look, I get it. This new DC cinematic universe is dark and gritty. Their movies are supposedly more realistic than Marvel Studios films, whatever the hell that means. Last I checked, they both make movies about grown people in silly costumes with superpowers doing extraordinarily unbelievable things… where’s the realism in that? I don’t watch comic book based films for realism, I which them for the fantasy, the characters, the interwoven stories and the spectacle. Bottom line, anybody trying to sell you on a comic book movies “realism” is also selling ice cubes in hell. Back on point, the film was so dark, that even in moments of triumph and/or victory you never get the sense that anything good was accomplished. The whole thing with a light/dark conflict is that the light eventually has to shine through if good is to win. That did not happen in this film.
- Lex Luthor and/or Jesse Eisenberg were trash. There, I said it. The character of Lex Luthor was way off base and annoying. I don’t know if that was a creative decision by the director or an acting decision, so I’m placing the onus on both for the time being. Lex felt off with the way he was frenetic, jumpy and obnoxious, whereas I have always known Luthor to be smart, cold and calculating with just a touch of charm. This was one of the serious low points of the film for me. I had higher hopes for Eisenberg than Affleck at the start, and boy did I get a big ol’ switcheroo on that bet. Affleck, you were the bomb yo!
- The music cues were over the top. We get it, each character had a distinct music cue. Did you have to continue to play them over and over (and over, etc.) again for the entirety of the action scenes. I may never be able to scrub that weird supposed Amazon rock theme that Wonder Woman had from my brain… ever (and that’s not a good thing). The mission statement here must have been: every time a hero is on screen, play their theme as loud and jarringly as possible for as long as possible. Even Lex Luthor had his little chaotic orchestral theme, which incidentally coupled with the actors performance helped to give me headaches each time he was on screen. the quiet times, dull though they may have been (and they were super dull times infinity), also housed the better portion of the score as well.
You know what, I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. Ultimately, this was not the Batman nor the Superman that I grew up loving, and in many ways it represented the worst, most reprehensible aspects of both. for Pete’s sake, there is actually a sequence where Batman fires pistols and machine guns with reckless abandon into his enemies. Clark Kent doesn’t even know who Bruce Wayne is at the beginning of the movie, despite the fact that he worked for a newspaper that had reported numerous stories about the billionare. It was a bizarre sheer lunacy for the nearly 3 hours that this film lasted, and I just couldn’t get behind it.
Final Thoughts: This film was not the best film to build the Justice League’s foundation on. Frankly, neither Batman or Superman are even remotely likable and Wonder Woman was so woefully underdeveloped that it’s too soon to tell, although, I hope her music theme changes, because it was not good. At. All. Batman V Superman Dawn Of Justice was far too dark and more adult themed than it needed to be (and before anybody tries to fight me on that, mainstream comic books are still primarily sold to an adolescent market every bit as much as they are to adults, and as such most major comic franchises should be family friendly films). The tone, pacing, and darkness of the film are not fun, and the third act just dissolves into incomprehensible levels of ludicrousness (even by comic book film standards). Much like Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, this film is a misstep and proof positive that is time for somebody to take the keys of the kingdom away from Snider (as is what happened to Whedon at Marvel). I say steer clear of this mess of a film, and hope that the Justice League film gives us a better movie going experience.